Opening morning of turkey season is one of my favorite times of the year. I love being able to hunt animals that I can call into range and “talk to.” I typically wouldn’t have hunted in such bad weather, however, being opening morning, I couldn’t stand the thought of not being out there. My expectations weren’t high due to the high winds and precipitation that was coming from the sky, which varied from rain, freezing rain and snow. Nonetheless, I was sitting on top of a high ridge in Northern West Virginia waiting on daylight.
When daylight came, in between gusts of wind, I heard what seemed to be 3 gobblers sounding off from around 200 yards away. Calling to them proved to be next to impossible through the howl of the wind. I sat patiently, calling every 10 minutes. My strategy was hunting a narrow field, in hopes the gobblers would want to come to an open area for safety on such a windy day.
A little after nine o’clock, a Jake appeared. He saw my decoys and fed around in the field for about ten minutes. I thought for sure there might be a Longbeard in tow, but he was by himself. The Jake disappeared into the timber off the ridge.
About 10:30, I decided to call it a day. My plan was to hunt my way off the ridge, stopping and calling at specific spots. The first spot that I stopped, I made a call on my friction pot call and immediately had an answer of a loud gobble from right over the hill. I couldn’t see him, and he couldn’t see me. I decided to get down near a large tree and then call again, this time he cut me off, but still seemed that he hadn’t moved. After belly crawling down the hill with nothing more than a mouth call and my gun, I popped up behind a tree, only to see a huge white head of a gobbler coming up the hill towards me. When he popped out behind a tree at twenty-five yards, I mouth called at him to stop him and make him put his head up.
The shot hit its mark, and as I walked up, I was surprised to find this turkey had the largest head of any I’ve ever taken. I spent a few minutes to give thanks and take in the moment, before I packed him off the ridge for the last time.
Shot with a Benelli Nova & 3.5" Hevi Shot Magnum Blend
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