5/3/08- I started out the morning hunting at Green's farm. I set up on the west edge of the timber where Scott & Josh had seen several birds the previous weekend. The temps were in the low 40s with strong west winds gusting 20-30mph. There were 5-6 toms roosted along the creek about 100 yards to the east of my setup. They were gobbling great all morning and responding to all of my calls. I heard them fly down around 6:20am, but the birds were hesitant to move much. Around 6:45 a pair of toms finally committed and starting closing the distance, they were gobbling every 10-15 seconds. Then they just shut up. About 3 minutes later I spotted movement to the north, only to see Brian walking down the fence row. I'm guessing the birds saw him and bugged out. I got on him pretty good about screwing me again and not staying put. All this after I told him I'd come get him around 9am. I'm pretty sure he knew I was pissed by the time I got done laying into him.
We decided to move to Glen's middle farm and on the way in spotted 7 birds in the corner of the field. We snuck around the east side of the property and got into the creek bed that paralleled their position. The conditions were perfect with strong winds and the location of the birds. We worked our way through the creek bed south and popped up were we thought the birds should be. Our guess was on the money. 1 tom and 6 hens in field about 60 yards out from us, the game was on. We crawled out of the creek and into the grass leading into up to the field. 4 of the hens started to feed west and past us at 20 yards without ever knowing we were laying there. One of the hens had about a 7 inch beard. Once they fed past us I continued the sneak. I got to within 30 yards of the tom and the other 2 hens, and stopped to make sure Brian stayed put. There was no need for both of us to keep going. There was a small drainage ditch in the grass and it was the perfect route to get even closer then we had planned. I crawled into the drainage and followed it for another 15 yards and was literally 5 feet from the field edge and still undetected. I could make out the tom through the grass as he was just standing in the field watching his lady friends. I stayed put for about five minutes hoping he'd work west and follow the other hens right past me, but he was locked on the 2 remaining hens. The tom gobbled one time and I decided it was go time. I took the safety off and slowly started to raise up above the grass. The birds had no idea I was even there. The shot absolutely stoned the big tom in his tracks, not even so much as a wing flop out of him. I was twelve steps from him when I let the Benelli bark. It was a huge relief after having a pretty frustrating season to this point. The bird was a solid 2 year old weighing in at 20lbs. with a 9 1/2 inch beard and 3/4 inch spurs.
To top the day off we hammered fish on Big Pond for the rest of the afternoon.