In 2008 we hunted at the ranch of Richard and Carol who had made a trip on the boat to Alaska with me. Richard likes to hunt (but not on his own property) and invited me to hunt their property for turkey. They don't like having a lot of hunters on their place, so I told them about Mike and Tom, and they said they could hunt as well. Their place is really nice, around 500 acres with a large medow and good timber coverage, and plenty of watering spots. Good for turkeys. The problem we had was their neigbhor below them was a bit crazy and was feeding the turkeys and so most of the birds in the area were hanging out around his barn. I was told he had so many cats living in and around his house that you couldn't go inside, it was bad. Anyway, he fed the birds and most stayed with him.
There were a few birds where we were though and after a couple of days figuring out the property, and how the turkeys used it, we settled into hunting. We were seeing a few birds, but they didn't have a real pattern to how they moved around. We got close a few times, but they were suspicious of the decoys and would skirt around them. I was set up in a blind and had a tom and some hens coming my way. They stopped to feed about 100 yards out along the edge of the medow and I didn't think anything of it. One of the hens snuck away and circled around me and came up behind me to check me out. She came up to around 15 feet, right behind me before I heard her. I turned my head to see what the rustling was right behind me and I was busted. She took off, putting her head off, and I spun around and saw the rest disappearing into the trees. Darn!
I was having some luck calling, and getting some responses, which makes you feel better when you are learning to call. It was late in the morning and the hens were on their nests, while I was walking back through the woods to the trailer, calling along the way, I got a gobbler to go off. I would call and he would respond, and over and over it went. After a few rounds, other gobblers joined in and I had 3 or 4 gobbling their heads off and coming my way. I was pumped. When they were from the sounds about 80 to 100 yards away with a long pond between us and hung up. I kept them talking but they were waiting for me to come to them now. I started working my way around the pond to get to them when I heard a nearby shot and quiet.
I ran around to where the gobbling had been coming from and Tom was in the trail with a nice gobbler on the ground. Tom and Mike had already got back to the trailers (we were dry camping on the ranch) when Mike stepped out of the trailer and heard all the commotion going on in the woods. He told Tom who thought Mike was pulling his leg, so Tom stepped outside and couldn't beleive his ears. They grabbed their guns and headed off to find some birds. As they were going down the trail, a gobbler stepped out onto it and Tom had the shot. Turkey down! We hunted the last couple of days we had left, but could not connect with another bird. It was a lot of fun and we enjoyed being on the ranch.
Even though I didn't get a bird, it was a thrill to get those gobblers all cranked up like that, and was worth it just for that experience. After something like that, you are so hooked that you won't be able to stop hunting turkeys.