• Friday: I head out before daybreak near roosted birds by a swamp and see two hens fly down and never hear the gobbler. I wait until 7:30 am and think "OK, I need to pee" but I remember asking Trent on Monday what to do if I need to pee. He says "hold it". I'm thinking I need the “stadium buddy”. I can't hold it any longer, stand up, turn around and go. I scare two birds off their roost about 25 yards behind the tree I was set up. I spent the rest of the day hiking all over Ortonville Rec. and Holly Rec and only see hens, hear no gobblers, and get lost before it starts to rain. While lost I keep hearing Frank and Chuck's story about getting lost at BOHC in my mind and thinking I need a GPS. On the drive home I thought to myself I've been to the 3G workshop two years in a row and I have to get a bird. This is like repeating a course in college and failing the final.

    Saturday: Danielle and the kids are wiped out by 3pm and everyone is about to nap. I explain to Danielle that I’m hearing that gobblers have been strutting in the evenings without hens and if I don't get a chance at one I'll at least know where one roosts for Sunday. So I head out and go further into several areas in Ortonville Rec. The place is packed with cars at every turn out. I pass a dozen HS kids playing paintball and immediately head back to my car. I decide that I should go to my original place because I know there are at least 2 gobblers nearby that roost in the area and maybe I bag one before they roost. As I set up the decoys and settle in I notice a young boy, maybe 12, in an orange shirt carrying pruning shears. Then I see his dad coming up over the hill behind him and both are walking directly towards my decoys. They were setting up their blind for Sunday morning and said they weren't in the back of the area so I head back to my original spot I was at on Monday hoping the get a bird before it roosts. As soon as I situate myself I hear what sounds like clucks or putts from a hen. I play the game and putt softly and make sounds like I'm a hen scratching for food. It's getting closer then I hear kids yelling, then yelling louder and a hen and another bird behind it (could have been a gobbler or jake) fly off.

    I'm cursing to myself. Then I hear the motors and it’s kids on dirt bikes, I think. Totally dejected I sit there staring at the decoys as the sun is about to set but it's still light out as the bikes draw closer. Then I see two ATV's pull up, a 4 wheeler and a utility ATV with a guy and two girls in it. One girl starts screaming "look at that huge bird" pointing to the hen decoy. Then the other girl jumps up and says "that one's a turkey buzzard" pointing to the jake decoy. I must point out that everyone in the group appears to be mid-30's or older, all holding beers in their hands, and driving in a non-motorized area. Finally, one guy says "oh no, those are decoys". At that point, I stand up and say "yes they are and you just scared off two birds". They apologize and I ask if ATV's are allowed back here knowing they are not. The second guy, who can barely put together a drunk sentence, says they are allowed and I correct him saying that's why they have gates, huge boulders, and signs that say "no motorized vehicles". I explained how there's a bunch of people hunting the area and they should know better than to drive drunk on ATV's. I pack up my decoys and think my season is over unless I roost a bird someplace else and quickly.
    Driving home I pass the biggest wild turkey I have ever seen walking from behind a house into Ortonville Rec. I now know what Trent means by a "paintbrush" beard. Seriously, it looked like a mop hanging off the front of the turkey. If it wasn't in the front yard of the house I would have jumped out and shot it. I turn around and watch the gobbler run into Ortonville Rec. Luckily, it’s near a road heading the same way and I see a clear cut for a power line. I pull over, grab my gun and mask, and run up the clear cut to circle in front of the bird to ambush him when he hits the power line clear cut. I never see him come out but know where he is for Sunday morning. It’s my last and only chance for a bird.

    I get home and Camo Dave (Krauskoff) calls to ask how everything went. I tell him my woes and he says that he doesn’t want to say “sure thing” but has a friend that has a gobbler and jakes walk through his back yard every morning and wanted to know if I’d like to go Sunday morning. I explain that I need to be home by 9 am for a special mass at Shrine for people celebrating significant anniversaries (Danielle and I are celebrating our 10th in August) and I might have to call the hunt before I even get a chance. Dave says he’s game if I am (God Bless Dave!).

    Sunday: Dave and I arrive at his friend’s house around 5:15 am. We hike through the woods to an open field where the gobblers head in the morning and strut. We set up for our expect gobbler to come in from the east by sitting in the tree line on the south side of the clearing. The decoys are set, we’re in the woods, it’s a chilly morning, and there’s a mist over the field as the sky begins to lighten and the activity increases with the daylight. It’s a gorgeous morning, the kind of morning where some of us say “we feel closer to God in nature”.

    Taken by surprise we hear a gobbler, still on a limb, gobbling to the west and he sets off a chorus of gobbles. At one point I counted 5 different gobblers near the clearing. Here we are set up for a gobbler to hike through the woods from someone’s backyard and there are five gobblers already here. One has to be within 100 yards from us. We do some light clucking and putting, hear the closest gobbler fly down, and before I know it I can hear him drumming and the crunch of the grass he’s walking over but I can’t see him coming in from the west. Next thing I know that gobbler is strutting nose to nose with my jake decoy. I’m blocked by bushes to my left and all I can see is the top of his white head and the top of his fan. I shoot and see the wad go over his head and he begins to fly up. Standing up I fire again and was sure I got him and fire a third time to be sure. Dave stands up and says “how did you miss?” and that he heard the bird crash down in the swamp area behind him. We look for about 15-20’ and find nothing. That gobbler is gone. I’m cursing myself thinking my hunting season is over and I blew my chance to get a gobbler.

    As Dave and I are walking around we hear the gobblers in the clearing start up again. Dave mentions that wasn’t even the bird we were here to shoot and we know another gobbler is coming from the east. So, we set up and I move to a position where I have a better sight line to the decoys and can shoot about 45 degrees to both the east and west. We begin some light calling and are even clucking and yelping cutting off each other’s calls like two hens and as soon as I cut off Dave’s call we hear the biggest gobble of the morning about 25 yards to the east. This is the bird we are waiting on. I turn to look up hill to the right to see where he is and out of the corner of my left eye I see what I think is a hen (blue head) sneaking up on the decoys. I figure the gobbler is letting the hens go in first so I need to “beat the hens” and let them pass to get to the gobbler. But then the first turkey nears the jake decoy and stands up. I see a huge beard and pow! There was no way I was missing twice on the same morning. That gobbler was dead as soon as he stood upright and I saw the beard. I jump up and Dave says “you shot the jake, but that’s OK. It’s your last day to hunt.” I’m thinking that beard looked long. When we walk up it was a huge gobbler. The beard was 11”, 1 ½” spur, and weighed just over 24.5 lbs.

    I jumped up and down, hugged Dave, and thanked God for all the blessings in my life, especially the great men of FAST who have “sharpened me” and been generous with the time to teach me to turkey hunt. I especially want to thank Trent and Dave for all their time. It was a long and rough season but the final hunt couldn’t have been more beautiful and fun. Now, what’s next?
  • How sweet it is Congrats Dave Welcome to the 3G's Graduating class!!!!
  • Hey Now! Went out this morning (Fri) no gobblin pretty quiet. Around 8:30 a Gobbler stepped on my call he came in with a couple of hens. Trent was telling us the other night you have to beat the hens this time of the year. I remembered that and I kept telling myself to be patient sit still let them pass thru the decoys. They moved thru and the gobbler stepped into the shooting lane and I whacked him. GITER DONE. 2 year old bird 1 inch spurs 9 inch beard about 19 lbs. Thank you Lord I love this sport.
  • Hey Now! I hunted late opening day because of the rain. No gobbling nothing but gun shots from a guy hunting the property next to me, I know he shot my turkey. Tues morning things were very quiet. Had light gobbling early then nada nada. Thurs they were hot had a big tom come in with a hen, didnt have a clear shot she then took my turkey with her (bitch). Friday was hot again lots of gobbles 6 jakes wandered in. Had 4 gobblers in a field strutting with a few hens close by. Still no turkey. Sat was not so good little gobbling early saw a few hens wandering around by themselves big storm was comming I don't know if that is why it was so quiet still no turkey. Sun morning set up right in the middle of the field where those toms were strutting, it was very wet from the big storm more rain was comming no gobbling very quiet. All the birds, even the geese and the sandhills were silent. Around 8 am a few individual hens were wandering around I was getting exited. I thought things were finally getting started. Then it got quiet again. Around 9:30 I really started to hit the call really hard with some exited yelps and I finally got the gobbling goin. These 4 toms came to the edge of the field and I thought for sure they were gonna pay us a little visit. They were a little spooked and hesitant to come any closer. Then they wandered off the other way. I was dumfounded. Well I figured out later they could see me through the camo screens in my blind. what an idiot. I didn't know you could see through the screens. If I have all my wndows covered except my shooting lane then every thing in the blind is black and they cant see diddly. I felt bad for Scot a new turkey hunter I had with me, I really screwed up his hunt that morning. He hunted with me for the first time 4 straight days. He loved it. We saw some turkeys, heard lots of gobbling. But I couldn't get it done. Hopefully this weekend.
  • here is my story

    Friday headed upnorth to my property south of Tawas. Got up there about 4 took my two dogs for a walk,100 yards into woods I see TURKEYS turn around run back to cabin, throw on camo grab gun, put dogs away run back into woods. After catching my breath and wiping the sweat away I try to sneak up and call the birds but only see a hen come by.

    Sat am; go to a friends property in Tawas. arrive 5:30 walk to a field as the rain and thunder come down, end up running to field throw up blind and decoys in the pouring rain. Dont hear anything, about 7:30am it stops raining Im a liitle cold so I decide to walk a little to warm up. I walk 300 yard to another field do some calling, nothing. Start to walk back get 50 yards from field I see a tom running at me!!! At 70 yards he sees me stops goes into woods. I run towards field (40 yards) another turkey runs by me at 20 yards I stop, drop to my butt, back up to a tree lift my gun to knee and wait!! Thinking if I should call???? 30 seconds go by here he comes a head, a beard, BOOM!!!!!!!! down goes the turkey!!!!
    19# 8 3\8 beard no spurs!!!!! 7:42 am.

    Sometimes you have to SIT sometimes you have to GIT.
  • Just got back from calling in a 2yo Tom and couldn't get a shot on him. I totally out-thought myself. Thought he was coming from one direction and I was set up perfectly. Then as he kept gobbling I thought he was circling around behind me where I hiked through an open field earlier but hiked up to a ridge clearing and set up the decoy. I moved to the opposite side to see him come up through the field and he came from where I originally thought he was coming from. But by moving I was blocking any shot to my far right by 4 or 5 trees. He wouldn't clear to the opening and walked right by where I left my binocs on the ground. Circled down the hill I hiked up and keep looking at the decoy through the trees, gobble, look, gobble, and just walked off. Shoot, if I stayed put I would have a dead turkey! Oh well, if was fun to get out at lunch and actually be able to call one in :-)

    Where's everyone else's turkey stories! I know you guys got some. Chuck and Chad each got one on the same hunt!!!!
  • I was shut out turkey hunting yesterday. We had one roosted from the night before and heard several other gobblers in the area so that’s where we decided to set up in the morning. We were 50 yards to the west and got underneath him in the dark, daybreaks, he flies down and Trent starts to call him in and then we see the silhouettes of two hens fly to him. We heard one other gobbler all day. Trent says I got a good lesson of what "hen'd up" means. It was crazy that we heard so many gobbles at daybreak then none the rest of the day. I stayed out until 8pm! It was fun. Trent was worried I'd be bummed because of having a "flash" hunt because we were set up so well in the morning. So much for the slam dunk.

    I had a chance at one other gobbler that we heard as we were walking back up the trail and had to "beat the hens". Trent had me run up the trail behind some fallen trees near the top of a hill. As I crouched to look over the fallen trees I noticed a hen was about 5 yards away on the other side of the trail. I froze but couldn't hold still enough to "beat the hen". It was like trying to hold a yoga position with a shotgun in my hands. Heck, there was a second hen coming up the trail before the gobbler and there was no way I could have sat completely still right next to the trail long enough to beat both hens. I didn't move but she knew I wasn’t a tree. Trent told me he sometimes closes his eyes when they're that close and it worked for me after we had dinner. I had a hen scratching all around me, granted I was comfortably seated, but I closed my eyes like a person pretends to be asleep with kids and barely looking out. Unfortunately, no gobbler was following her. I'm going back out on Friday.

    There’s an update to the 3G workshop materials that we joked about yesterday:
    1) A deer thinks a person is s stump.
    2) A turkey thinks a stump is a person
    3) Chris thinks a stump is a turkey (driving by in the truck at least).

    I didn’t bag a turkey yesterday but it was a great day and am blessed that Trent was willing to take me around all day yesterday. I can’t thank Trent enough and wish I could have recorded all the hunting tips and information I picked up just spending a day with Trent. Awesome, a truly awesome day.

    I’ll see those turkeys on Friday!
  • Someone please convince Jim Petty to tell his turkey calling contest story. I don't know if it's as funny reading as him telling it but I nearly hurt myself from laughing.
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