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An Opening Day for the Books

By: Michael Lee, Quaker Boy Game Calls Pro Staff 

My heart rate picked up as the strutting gobbler slowly entered the edge of the food plot.  His iridescent head was glowing like a full moon in the spring sky.  Making sure the hens in front of him were not looking, I eased my gun up to my shoulder.  He cleared the first set of trees and I steadied the TRUGLO sights on the bright red wattles at the base of his neck.  By now my breathing had increased to a level as if I had just run a forty yard sprint.  With my dad to my left videotaping the magnificent bird as he strutted into the decoys, dad whispered, "Take him out."  With a loud roar, the woods fell silent except for the flapping of wings from a downed gobbler. 

I proudly walked out into the chufa patch, filled with pot hole like scratchings from all of the turkeys that had been frequenting the plot for the past few months, to collect my prize.  The beautiful Tom sported a 9 inch beard, 1 inch spurs, and weighed right on the 21 pound mark.  This was the ninth turkey that we had seen in the plot this morning, and was the trophy that had been worked so hard for over the past year.  Yes, I said the past year. 

The work began this time last year as Mr. Charles Clark, the owner of the farm we were hunting on, had the vision of putting in some food plots to help us draw in more game. He brought in heavy equipment; made the plots where needed, cleaned them up well, and disked the soil so it could be ready to plant.  After applying lime to neutralize the soil and a heavy dose of fertilizer, the areas were ready for seed.  With turkey hunting being Mr. Charles’s first love in the outdoors, a chufa patch was a must! 

The time was now mid summer and about July, the food plots were planted.  With Mother Nature cooperating, rain was in the forecast and was abundant enough to get some of the best food plots produced in years.  One particular patch stood out from the rest.  This one was called the "Concealed Patch".  This patch seemed to be in a perfect spot.  With a creek running just south of it and a hardwood ridge running up the west side of the patch, it seemed to be a magnet for deer and turkey.

Deer season came and towards the end, the chufa had matured to amazing levels and produced more nuts than a Planters peanut factory.  Turkeys began to flock into the patch on a daily basis and groups of up to forty were seen feeding in the patch.  The table was being set for one of the most amazing congregation of turkeys that I had ever laid eyes on. 

Mr. Charles did his scouting with a nice digital trail camera and was taking pictures of wildlife at an amazing rate in this patch.  The latest batch of pictures before the opening of turkey season was 198 photos taken in less than a 48 hour period, with 20+ of them being of strutting gobblers! 

After some photos and an exit scene on our video of the morning hunt, we gathered our gear and headed out of the Concealed Patch with a gobbler still hammering less than 100 yards away.  We decided to go eat a good breakfast with our others in the camp for the weekend and return that afternoon for the chance at another bird. 

Looking over, I saw dad nodding off in the shade of the South Georgia pine.  That 5 o’clock in the morning sure is rough on you later in the day.  There’s nothing like a nap in the woods listening to nature’s sounds to make you feel at peace.  I’d be lying if I did not say I had just awakened from a nod myself.  Then, a lone hen appeared from the creek bottom.  She eased out into the patch, ignoring our decoys.  Zooming in with the video camera she fed around the plot.  Our focus was on her, when movement then caught my eye.  Straight ahead, I saw a fan!  There was a gobbler coming in straight to us.   Dad began easing his Mossberg 835 around, getting ready for the shot.  The gobbler could not hold the strut any tighter, with every refresh he would spit and drum.  This is a sound that gobblers make to intimidate other birds in the area.  The more I turkey hunt, the more respect and admiration I have for the true beauty of these animals.  A gobbler in full strut is hard to overshadow in the outdoors.

"Click"…..then dad whispered, "I guess you know what that sound was?", as he took the safety off.  The gobbler closed the gap to about twenty yards when we realized there was another gobbler behind him.  With multiple opportunities at a double, dad did not want to be too greedy with his harvest.  Instead of going to the decoys, the gobblers were coming straight to us.  At ten yards dad ask if I was on him with the camera, I said "Yes", and then boom!   

There are few things in life that can compare to taking time to hunt and fish with my dad, after all he is the reason that I have grown to love and enjoy the outdoors as he does.  We have taken many deer together, and now we are adding to the list of nice gobblers that we have harvested together.  As dad, Mr. Charles and I walked out to look at the 10 ˝ inch bearded, 20 pound gobbler taken just a few yards from the spot where I harvested my bird that morning, I could not think of any better way to kick off the first day of Georgia’s turkey season.  Talk about high expectations for the rest of the year! 

Good luck and God bless, 

Michael Lee 

For more information about Quaker Boy's outstanding line of quality game calls, visit http://www.quakerboygamecalls.com


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