First Turkeys!

Discussion in 'Indiana Turkey Hunting' started by frisbee3557, Apr 30, 2018.

  1. My buddy Adam and I have been hunting deer, ducks, geese, doves, pheasants and rabbits together since our sophomore year of high school but up until 2016 we had never even purchased turkey tags much less even thought about hunting them on our spot in Jasper County, Indiana. That changed when the farmer's wife told us in 2015 that she wanted a turkey. With absolutely zero experience and only the knowledge we were able to acquire from reading, watching videos and listening to turkey hunters, we gave it a shot but came up empty without really any true opportunities in 2016 and 2017.

    Saturday we got down to the farm after lunch and started scouting for a spot we could hunt Sunday morning. We know there are turkeys in the area and we know some of the areas where they roost. We were going to try to tip the odds as much in our favor for Sunday as possible. Scouting from the truck, we pulled into a spot that gave us a decent vantage point but not ideal. We almost stayed in the truck but made the decision 3 hours before sunset to work down an irrigation ditch to bank along a low lying marshy area that improved our ability to scout the entire area. Before we're able to even take our backpacks off and get situated, out pop 3 hens into our picked corn field about 150 yards east of us. Adam quickly sits down, looks north and tells me "Don't move". Out of the woods across the corn field from us is a turkey making a b-line right for us. I'm squatting behind an old, very dilapidated box blind that has lost 3 of it's 4 sides of plywood. I hand Adam my binoculars and he tells me "It's got a beard. You're shooting this turkey!". As complete rookies to turkey hunting, we were completely set on filling our tag with any legal bird. Usually, this kind of thing never happens. Yes, animals we're hunting sometimes start coming closer to us but normally they divert before they ever get in range. They never just keep coming, right? This turkey did. Now I'm at a point where I need to make a decision on which side of the old box blind to setup. I choose the right side based on how the turkey is coming but now neither of us can see him. We can hear his steps in the cornfield right in front of us but the box blind is obstructing both of our views. My heart is thumping out of my chest.... and then I see the turkey start coming up the ditch bank on the other side of the box less than 10 yards from me. I keep still but the turkey knew this was a situation he should not be in. He turns and quickly starts walking back around the front of the box. I get the barrel on him but my first shot is behind him. The second shot puts him down and we both start going absolutely crazy as I run out to stand on his head and claim our first ever turkey!

    An 11lb Jake with a 8" beard and no spurs. We had been hunting for all of about 20 minutes. Adam hadn't even loaded his gun yet!


    Still in complete shock that we successfully filled a turkey tag the previous evening, we headed back to the same exact location about 45 minutes before sunrise Sunday morning. As we're working down the irrigation ditch to our spot, we hear multiple turkeys gobble about 600 yards across the road in the neighbor's woods. We stop and consider setting up short of our spot to see if we could get a chance at those birds but make the decision to continue working to our chosen location and would then figure out our next move. This time, we were able to get situated and even put our decoys out. I pick up the binoculars and look west to see if I can see the birds we hear gobbling. Across our corn field, across the road, across the neighbor's cornfield and up against a tree line over 600 yards away, I see them working north. I give them an obligatory light couple of clucks fully expecting them to completely ignore my rookie calling and continue away from us. Jokingly, I tell Adam after calling "Hear they come". But then the turkeys stop in their tracks, turn towards us and start running! "No, really, they're coming!" I tell Adam. Knowing he wouldn't believe me, I had him the binoculars so he could see for himself. Across the neighbor's corn field they come, across the road they come and then they're in our field! Now the only thing between them and us is the marshy area of the field with trees and brush that conceal us well but also make it tough to see the birds. Every time they gobbled, I responded with a gobble and they keep coming. Adam works his way into a shooting position that would give him a shot if they end up close to our decoys but prevents him from seeing the birds still on their way. I'm watching them until they get to the point where I can't see them any more but know they should be coming around the marsh area and directly out in front of us. We are both excited beyond all belief as we're whispering to each other "do you see them?!?!?". At 80 yards they turn the corner around the marsh where we could both see them and they could see our decoys. One of the 3 puts on a full display for us puffing out his feathers and fan then begins strutting directly towards our decoys. The only place we've ever seen any thing like this is on TV! I'm sitting directly behind Adam watching this all unfold in front of us. You could feel the tension in the air as the Tom struts 40 yards right towards us. Watching the color of his head change from white/blue to red/white and the brightness of the red under his beak was incredible. The turkey gets within 40 yards from us and is walking straight down Adam's barrel. Adam pulls the trigger and the bird goes down! We probably woke up anyone still sleeping within a half mile with all the yelling, screaming and high-fiving!

    The night before, we shot a turkey. Sunday morning, we successfully completed a true turkey hunt!

    Adam's 22lb Tom with 9.5" beard and 5/8" spurs:
    bambicide and Outdoorsman527 like this.
  2. Do turkeys gobble in the evenings? Never done evening hunts so just curious how to evening hunt them

  3. That is a great, well written took me there. That feeling of celebrating something like that is something that is hard to describe to someone who doesn’t hunt. Congrats to you both. Makes me want to grab a beer to celebrate for you guys. (y)
    frisbee3557 likes this.
  4. Are you sure the first one wasn’t a bearded hen? Those stats would lead me to believe it was. A very cool bird I. Itself. Congratulations on both birds.
  5. That first bird is a bearded hen
  6. That is really cool. Congrats to you both.
  7. Thanks! Sitting at work this week, I still can't wipe the smile off my face!

    I believe you guys are 100% correct after doing some research and looking closer at the pics. I should have bought a lotto ticket!

  8. Sweet.
    Bearded hen.
    Only saw one in my lifetime.
  9. I've seen a few, I think something like 1 in 10 grows a beard. Not really all that rare but cool for sure
  10. great hunt and story!

    friends grandson shot a bearded hen with double beard couple years back.
  11. Good job guys! Memories made for sure!