As strands of light reached earth at sunrise, I stroked the box call at first light of opening day. The quiet morning woods were interrupted by distant Tom’s announcing their presence.
The sky was getting more blue by the minute and the weather was exceptionally clear and calm. Big pine trees surrounded me, in a small Red Oak Flat of land.
Earlier, all was well with the world as my hunting friend and I made our way into the woods of a large NH farm where we were friends of the family. We separated and gave distance between ourselves. My friend was new to Turkey hunting but considered himself as one who could call them in as he did with the Turkey’s in his backyard calling them every few minutes incessantly. Bringing my New England Accent to bear, I thought, it was good my friend was way, way over they’ah!
I think that Toms like the quieter ones!
I may be wrong but the Tom coming to my periodic calls seems to like my soft purrs and clucks just fine. I could see his head and a partial of his display dance at that distance. It was a thrill to see him. Come closer, I said by softly clucking… and purred… and putted on my call like a whisper in the woods. Immediately he gobbled back in response. All of a sudden In parade fashion three Jake Gobbler’s ran in front of the Tom as if to say… me first boys! I was sitting with my back to a tree in Turkey hunting fashion in full camo and face mask. The Jakes (all the same size with 3/1/2 inch beards) were excited as all get out and standing just a few feet or so from each other and coming at me like a dog coming to a dinner bell.
They finally separated so I could squeeze the trigger on my 12 gauge 870 Remington Pump with a full choke goose barrel. I was waiting for the one that gave the best kill presentation. Yes! I wanted the mature Tom , I thought momentarily, but did not have the vacation time to spend in getting him to shotgun range.
With the head of one of the the Jakes in my sight, a sure thing, I squeezed the trigger, and sent number 4’s at him like a buzz saw. All the pellets struck his head and neck with such force that he was knocked over by the dense blast. Lights Out! Wings still flapping from nerves for a moment or two. The other Jakes did not leave at first they walked around the downed Jake trying to figure out what happened but finally melted into the tree line. My hunting partner came over to see and gave a congratulatory hand shake and took pictures as I tagged the bird.
I had to wait for the local check in station in Chester, NH to open. At 14 pounds with nary a pellet in his body he will be a tasty addition to the dinner table. I skinned him, salted his gut cavity and place him in the freezer. I will likely bake him as I did the last one with Thin sliced tart granny smith apples and Hickory smoked bacon covering his body as his new found skin. Wow! Thank God for Hunting in New England!! ©