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05/26/08

Posted by Coalman , 29 May 2008 · 145 views

This is bothering me . I need to talk about it because so few understand. Put it this way. I did not kill him outright.

Reverse to Saturday and Sunday. I hunted hard, very hard. Till noon each day. The weather was gorgeous. I walked miles. Heard a few courtesy gobbles and saw a tom but they would not play.

Monday was a repeat. One roost gobble by a jake and that was it. So I went to the farm. When I got there there was one tom in the upper field displaying to three hens. The farmer told me he'd seen a lot of "fannin'" that morning. He told me give it heck and go get the bugger. And that is what I did.

He never gobbled. He followed those hens like a puppy. I know the farm well. They went into a field totally surrounded by a river. It was stealth that got me close to the field. But when I got there, no turkeys. I know they didn't leave so I just kicked back and watched.

About 15 minutes of watching and I look to my right and there he is at 25 yards. Then like ghosts his three hens appeared not 15 yards from me. I held up shooting because I could not see his beard. I knew it had to be the adult with those hens but I needed beard assurance. All the time his hens are in front of me he never moved. He would display but through the screen of trees I just could not confirm this was an adult.

His hens saw me. They didn't spook, they just didn't continue on the path that would put the gobbler in the open. They went backwards, the way they came. The gobbler stood like a stone at the field edge for a few minutes. He had looked at me a few times but would always go back to pecking the grass or displaying to the hens. My presence was not a threat.

When he turned to follow the hens he went behind a big tree. I repositioned for the shot. I still hadn't seen a beard. Then there, a quick glimpse of beard. I remember aiming for the red head and pow. The hens went one way. He ran off another.
After a fruitful search in the direction he went I returned to the scene to evaluate. I found my pattern left in a big red oak. In the position I was in when I shot I could see that happening.

I started kicking my chin when I saw the cut feathers where he was standing. I collected four. I replayed the shot time and time again from my exact sitting position. I never really saw his reaction to the shot. I just got up same as any of us would after they thought they shot a gobbler. I didn't run but I didn't stay sitting. He saw me coming and that is when he ran.

No broken wings but he still didn't look 100%. This wasn't my first miss, it won't be my last. But I feel for that gobbler. Heck I feel for any critter I shoot at and do not get.

This has been with me since 0900 yesterday morning. I know writing about it will not heal that bird. But I hope by sharing this with the best turkey hunters on the web will heal my spirit.

I have until Saturday. This is not over. I will be at the farm this week. And maybe if I see him, I will head home? I just don't want him to die from my poor shooting.

Thank you for letting my share my grief.
Coalman






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