The bucks have been scraping and rubbing in the area. And with all the rain the night before, I figured the bucks will be out checking their rubs. This 180 lb - 7 point buck came to a rub at 9:50 a.m.
On opening day the only gobbling going on came from someone else's property. As the sun broke the horizon, a hen that was roosted a few trees to my right broke out with a series of cackles, she flew down nearly to my lap, and proceeded to check out the two decoys I had set. Busting out above me, was a long bearded tom. He locked his wings, landed past the decoys, and left the scene. Talk about setting up under a roost and getting busted, that was me.
It took another twelve days to meet up with this tom again. He was not in the mood to gobble, and never showed up when calls were made. I sat silently, patiently in a tree stand, waiting for him to hopefully come back to roost near my stand. I busted him @ 6:00 pm as he walked by the stand
The next day out 'Good Friday' the set up was off an open field, in an area showing plenty of potential: Turned up leaves, and thick cover.
At sunrise I heard a faint gobble. At 7:00 I warmed up the box call with some cackles, and sounds of an agitated hen. A gobble bounced back, game on. After a long time (15min) of sitting quietly in a pop up blind, I reached under the cover and scraped up leaves. Another gobble, again I went silent, this time 10 minutes, then I did a hen call. The gobbler answered, I could see him in the field 150 yards away and running away to my left!?
I picked up the box call and repeated the agitated hen, and scratching of leaves. Nothing.......... thoughts were going through my mind, did he spook? is he call shy?
I put the call away and sat quietly, interrupting the silence with an occasional scraping of leaves. At 8:00 a gobble blasted out to my right!? The only tom I heard, or saw went left, and the sound was close. A minute later I could make out a strutting tom through branches and new spring leaves. He would fan out, take a step, long neck, doing the periscope looking around. It was quite a show, struting, long necking, slowly moving from my right to left.
This tom was taking his time looking for the source of the calls I had made (or so I thought). I had one clear opening between two tall pines that he had to enter. When he made it to the opening and the periscope went up, the shot was made! The tom was down, flapping his wings, I sat the shot gun down and gave thanks for the moment.
As I was looking back into the blind I heard a cluck, looked out to see a hen trotting by not more than 5 feet away from the blind. She had come from my left, it was at that moment I saw the second tom (the one missing most of his tail feathers) he was running to the flapping tom. When the second tom entered the opening, he became my limit for the day!
Looking back, I believe the tom that ran to my left had spotted a hen, and was busy trying to impress her. Boy if he had a mirror I'm sure he would have been embarrassed. The hen was heading towards my calls and the blind, tom in tow. The first tom I shot, had seen the hen and gobbled, he was not in a real hurry to get to the hen seeing she had company. My location........ the right place at the right time.
The tom with the missing tail feathers supported the longest, hook shaped spurs I've ever seen. Solid 1 -1/4' with an 11' beard.
The South Carolina Sportsman magazine reports; 'Go early, go often, go tag'em' (SC Sportsman issue Sept 2013)Advise well taken. At sunset, Sunday August 25th this buck came in to a new shooting lane I just cut that day. Multiple chances were passed-up on smaller bucks. It was my fourth time out in the early season. This 8 point velvet buck was 18 yards from my tree stand when I released an arrow, he dropped 150 yards away.