I arrived just as it was getting light and parked down in a valley. The landowner had told me of a big tom hanging around the house and being a big loud mouth just after day light. He acted like he was the only one in the woods and valleys. I knew right away what he needed was a good shooting.
At the recommendation of a close friend I had picked up the Funky Chicken Decoy from Bass Pro and put it out. My friend had personal experience with this decoy and told me to get one as when the toms spot it, they become enraged. This I felt I had to see.
I climbed up a hill and put out the Funky chicken and a couple of breeding hens decoys. The instructions that came with the decoy had mentioned to get a couple of feeding hens as they believed it would calm the toms a little and let them focus on the Funky Chicken. This made sense to me, but at this time I did not have the time to pick up a couple of feeders. Breeders was what they were going to see.
A good place was found to hide and the sun would be slightly behind me and off to my left. Pushing back into the timber, the concealment was good on the left and right, but I was wide open to the front. This was not good, but I was at least in the shadows and with the leaf suit on. Turkey success was accomplished with this manner before, but it had also fowled up some good shots. Because of their excellent vision, they had found something wrong and had split.
|I am sitting on the top of the hill pushed back into the opening just to the right of the center of the picture.
It did not take long and off to my right two specks were spotted coming out of the timber on a direct line to my hiding place. As they they came for me they did what turkeys always do. They scratched and picked up seeds. Closer and closer they came and then they started up the hill. At this time I could see one was a really big tom while his partner was a really big jake. All of a sudden the big tom stopped dead in his tracks. The jake kept moving slowly up the hill scratching and pecking at the ground picking up seeds.
Thinking to myself I said, “Whatever you do and regardless of how uncomfortable this might become, do not make one move.” As he stood there my gluteus maximus was getting sore and to pull up my legs would have given me a lot of relief. I did not make one single move other than breathing.
Now this was really interesting. This giant, as he stared toward the top of the hill, knew something wasn’t quite right. Also, he had a good view of the Funky Chicken decoy, and it was obvious he was fascinated. I do not believe the breeding hen decoys made a bit of difference. This guy had not gotten big by being careless. Slowly he took a couple of steps forward and spread out his beautiful big fan. As the sun hit him with the fan spread out, I could see the beauty of the big guy with all the colors. To re-position myself would have been a great relief. I did not move and began to hurt.
At this point, he was probably 50 yards down the hill. I still did not think I was seen as I was surrounded by the shadow of the trees around me. He began to walk back and forth with his fan all spread out and his head tucked back showing off his prowess. If you can visualize what was going on, he was initially 30 degrees to my right and walked all fanned out, of course, till he was straight to my front. He was close, but I wanted a closer shot. It was decided that when the shot was made, he would be a whole lot closer so as not to cripple this big beautiful bird. I wanted him in the freezer.
He kept this movement up for at least 15 minutes slowly getting closer. The jake stayed right with him and at times the jake was between the tom and me. That was when I re-positioned myself, got the gun upon my knee, and made sure I could get a good shot. This was most important. On the first shot I wanted to see the bird tumble and flop around like they always do. If he turned right his backside was facing me for just a couple of seconds and I could get re-positioned. When he turned left he was staring straight at me. What I wanted to do was take a picture, but that would have been too much movement, and that would spook him for sure.
The Funky Chicken decoy was out about 15 yards, and a marker had been placed at the 20 yard spot. I shoot 3.5 inch shells with a full choke and Winchester shells shown below. At the 20 yard spot he would be history. Closer and closer he came and my patience was wearing really thin, but it was maintained. He strutted and strutted but would not come any closer, and slowly he unfolded his fan and began walking down the hill with the jake.
An expletive (deleted) was uttered as he sauntered off. Should I have shot? This will be an unknown that will keep me awake at night. How many chances does a person get in a life time at a really giant bird.
Then I heard a hen right behind me and as I turned to look at her, she split off in a hurry making a lot of noise. The sun had moved to a point where I was illuminated from behind me and this may have spooked off my quarry. What has really left me feeling low about this loss was the fact that the landowner’s brother came out one afternoon and shot the biggest tom he had ever seen. It happens.
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Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck.