If there really are “ON” and “OFF” kind of days for turkeys. Saturday, Sunday and Monday of the Opener here in the Trans-Bluegrass were definitely “ON.” Angus had a shot on Saturday as did I, Angus scored on Sunday. SuperCore and I scored on Monday. Ever the rain returned on Monday morning, the gobblers have been turned “OFF” in the extreme sense. However, I am getting ahead of myself. It is best to pick up the story after Angus bagged his jake.
On Sunday, after Angus bagged his jake, it got hot and muggy. I drove Angus back to rendezvous with KYHillChick, who met us halfway on the AA Highway. It started raining, and it rained most of the afternoon. However, it let up around Happy Hour. By then I had returned to the farm and SuperCore and I watched a gobbler with two jakes parading around in front of the Jagende Hutte. We took that as a sign that things were beginning to change
It rained. It rained on and off after sundown Sunday and rained a good part of the night. In the morning, I was fully rigged for it, even swapping out my calls for the ones less affected by moisture. The drizzle let up enough for me to get hoof it out to Midway, crawl in, and get off all my wet stuff. The wind was gusting pretty heavily when I started my calling with an old Toby Benoit box call. A hen down in Left Leg Creek immediately answered me, and started matching me, yelp for yelp. A gobbler chimed in and by 0730 I had a 3 hens and a gobbler making their way straight for my blind. As soon as the gobbler got in the clear, I put the scope to his head and hit him straight on.
I had heard a shot a few minutes earlier. That was SuperCore killing his gobbler, the same one we had seen the night before. He and his acolytes had roosted behind Broken Corners and come out into the pasture at sunrise.
This was a first for the Shamanic Dream Team; we had never had a 2-fer at camp. SuperCore dressed his out on the shooting bench. I set up a card table in the yard. Despite the rain coming and going, we had both gobblers in the freezer by 11. After that, the weather turned and the turkeys crawled in a hole and pulled the lid over the top.
It was not all that bad at flydown but the turkeys could tell something was coming. By 0830 the wind was starting to gust. Small car warnings were up on the AA. We hunkered down.
Wednesday and Thursday
Rain and Wind and a falling thermometer. We made it out both days, but it was not pleasant. I did have a couple of jakes show up Thursday. I counted coup on them from the blind at Midway. This is the second time this year I could have punched a tag on a jake. I still might, but frankly I would rather see those little guys grow up. Ask me on the last day of season, and I might give you a different answer.
Things started to turn around, but it was still cold. The gobblers would toss a few gobbles on the roost and then disappear. I could have been calling in my living room and had as good luck.
Saturday and Sunday
Saturday it was still cold, but the turkeys were starting to cooperate. The cold, close to freezing, is the sort of thing you expect for 1st week of Spring Gobbler here in the Trans-Bluegrass. What was odd though was that as temps and winds moderated, what I found was a large number of very frustrated hens coming around looking for a gobbler. I’d hear them out in the woods being very plaintive. When I would gobble, they would come running. I wish I’d been able to capture some it with my recording gear, but the wind was just too darn strong. These girls were really giving a class. Normally, when you hear a hen like that, you also hear gobbling. The gobblers were almost non-existent, and when they were around, they would toss off a few obligatory gobbles and walk the other way. This was an odd set of circumstances to be sure. One other thing that got me thinking something might be up was during one of the pour-downs, there were 15 hens out in the pasture with zero gobblers in attendance.
Saturday, I had one kicking up a serious fuss back by Campground. On Sunday she came all the way up to the Honey Hole and strode across the field within 20 yards, with only a little bit of gobbling on my part. My audio recorder was completely flummoxed by the wind, otherwise I would have a wickedly good podcast. Gobblers? Both Saturday and Sunday they must have been hiding.
Since we left camp, I’ve received word that Week #2 in Bracken County and the whole NorthEast region has been on fire. Gobblers are climbing up hunters’ legs. The carnage has been tremendous. I just hope things hold out for the coming weekend when the Shamanic Dream Team takes to the field again.