4/19/09- Brian and I headed down to Jimbo's early Sunday morning with hopes of scouting all of our properties and then going snagging at Taberville. We were greeted by rain first thing in the morning and it didn't let up until 2pm. The turkey scouting went great, we located several gobblers on our properties and saw birds out everywhere. Our plan was to set up a ground blind on the west treeline by the Yellow Barns after dark.
Our snagging trip didn't go as well! After launching the boat I went to park the rig and trailer. As I was coming back across the parking lot Brian was yelling at me to "bring the trailer back". Apparently the new prop wasn't installed correctly and it fell off into the river right after Brian fired up the motor. Luckily it happened when it did. All of the rain had the river running about 20mph and we'd planned to head down river. God knows where we'd have ended up!!!! We reconciled our losses and headed back to G-pond and got after some sunnies and bass.
We headed back to the Yellow Barns around 7pm after putting several slab sunnies in the cooler and listened for roosting birds. Around 7:45pm we heard several birds fly up to roost just NW of us. After the sunset we slid down the treeline and setup the blind.
4/20/09 - Opening day of the MO 2009 turkey season greeted us with clear skies and temps in the lower 50's with no wind. After getting to the blind and setting up we heard the first gobble around 6:40am and it didn't let up for the next 30 minutes. We could hear birds gobbling everywhere (60-70 gobbles total). We had one bird roosted about 75 yards west of us and he wasn't shy about letting us know he was there. After fly down we could hear several hens and the birds continued to gobble, but nothing came into our field.
Around 9:30am I couldn't keep Brian in the blind any longer, he had to go chase birds so he went to go grab my gun out of the rig while I stayed in the blind. At 9:40am a bird gobbled in the field just west of our setup. I could see 2 toms and a hen on the far west edge of the field, but because of the treeline it was tough to keep an eye on them. One of the toms gobbled at my calls a couple of times, but never came in. By the time Brian returned with the boom-stick the wind had picked up considerably (25-30mph) and it shut the birds down for the rest of the day. It was the first opening day we haven't killed a bird in 7 years (not counting the Rolla disaster). We did hammer the frying pan sunnies that evening though, so at least we had that going for us.
4/21/09 - Day 2 of the 09 season started off around 42 degrees with a slightly overcast skies and a slight breeze. Brian wanted to hunt on Glen's west property and I was going to setup in the ground blind again. The gobbling picked up where it left off from day 1. I had 3 birds about 150yrds. north of gobbling like it was the only thing they knew how to do. I heard several birds fly down around 6:50am and the then the hens started pouring into my field. The 3 toms continued to gobble for the better part of the morning, but none of them would cross the treeline and follow any of the 13 different hens that came into the field (3 bearded hens). The toms were responding to my calling and I had them fired up, but they wouldn't leave all them ladies.
Around 9am Brian called and we decided to meet down by the creek on the middle field and do what we do best "sneak" them thunder turkeys! After Brian found me we headed North about 75 yards and I called a couple times "gobble, gobble, gobble" about 100 yards north. We decided to cut the distance another 25 yards and call again. This time the bird was much closer and we decided they had to be coming down the west field edge "wrong". Just as we cleared the creek bank on the west field edge a tom exploded with a gobble on the east edge of the treeline. We both turned to see 3 birds outlined in the sun, necks extended gobbling and looking for that lady friend they just heard. Without saying a word we both bailed into the creek bed and crawled 40 yards through the understory until we were within 12 yards of the fence line. The birds were just to our right in the corner of the field, but our view was obstructed by a downed tree. I could see the biggest bird strutting in the field, but couldn't see the other 2 birds. Brian had a better angle and could see all 3 birds (2 toms, 1 jake). We could tell they birds were looking for that hen they heard, so we decided to putt a couple times and try to bring them down the fence right in front of us. Our plan worked, but not to perfection. After a few soft clucks and purrs one of the birds gobbled in our face and then they started working up the fence to us. We planned to smash both of the big toms when we got the chance. After a few close "shoot, no don't shot, shoot, I can't see him, shoot" Brian finally called a shot that we both had. I smashed my bird right in the face and he didn't even think about holding the #4s from 11 yards. Unfortunately Brian had to deal with a little more brush than me and his shot didn't connect, although he tried to bring the bird down a 2nd and 3rd time without any luck. I wished we could have connected on the double, but one bird is better than none and we put another solid sneak together on a Big MO Tom.
It was my biggest turkey to date 25lbs, 10" beard, and 1 1/4 inch spurs. It was a great start to the 09 MO season, now we need to get Delany on the board!
Note: Ralph killed his first bird in 6-7 years on 4/21/09 - 23lbs, 11" beard, 1 1/8 spurs.