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Stampede Gobbler


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#1 PA RIDGE RUNNER

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Posted 18 May 2011 - 05:56 AM

Here in PA the first week of our season was dead silent. The second week was better but I was having some knee problems and could not get to the birds as they were up on the mountainside. This 3rd week Eric took off work to hunt and it has rained everyday. The rain did not turn off the gobbling and did not keep us out of the woods. Yesterday we woke to more rain. We went to a farm nearby and parked halfway up the fields and sat in the truck while a steady rain continued. At dawn a gobbler and a couple of jakes sounded off with an hour of constant gobbling. Finally we could not stand it any more and jumped into our rainsuits and took off in pursuit. The woods were a wet soggy mess but we set up at the bottom of a young cattle pasture at the base of the mountain. I was about 75 yds from where Eric set up and could hear a gobbler above Eric sounding off. Just then the heavens opened up and it just poured. The young cattle went to the far end of the pasture and under some trees. I finally got up and went to Eric. He said the birds were in the upper part of the pasture. I sat down quickly and after a couple of minutes said I could see a red head. It was about 90 yds away. It started our way and then disappeared behind some bushes. A few minutes later two hens came along and two longbeards were trailing them. Eric could not see through the brush at the fencerow so belly crawled to the fence for a better shot. The gobblers finally came into range and Eric shot. His bird was down but not dead and he shot two more times. I shot at the other bird as it flew away but missed. I then went to the electric fence and threaded my way through it and tried to run through a sloppy mess of mud and rocks. I got to his bird and he yelled to finish it off. Just then the young cattle came thundering toward us - all 50 or so of them. I took careful aim and finished his bird. Fortunately the young cattle viered off at the last minute. We grabbed the soggy bird and skedaddled as there is a bull in the herd. The bird weighed 19 1/4 pounds had a 10 inch beard and about 3/4 inch spurs. We plan on going out again once our equipment dries a bit.
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#2 TerryfromAR

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Posted 18 May 2011 - 11:25 AM

Paul sounds like quite the experience. Congrats to Eric on the bird.
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#3 Leo

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Posted 18 May 2011 - 02:54 PM

You guys did good! When it really starts pouring I've seen turkeys go out in a feed and just sit. It must have been raining not quite hard enough to stop them from moving.

Way to stick with it.
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#4 Eric

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Posted 18 May 2011 - 04:38 PM

I don't know Leo, it was raining so hard it filled my red-dot up with water and all I could see was the red-dot, :blink:
Anyway here is a very soggy pic.
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#5 PA RIDGE RUNNER

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Posted 18 May 2011 - 05:01 PM

If you look in the background you can see a wall of stones. That is the foundation of an old homestead barn. Eric is sitting beside the house foundation and perched on a rock that could have very well been used as a front step of the house. That site was occupied by some of our ancester relation on my mom's side. Man talk about hard scrabble farming as that homestead sits nearly at the base of a mountain on just about nothing but rocks. There still remains a bunch of stone fencerows that were the result of much back breaking labor. It is a real thrill to see how at least some of our ancesters lived and to imagine how hard it must have been to even exist back then.


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#6 Coalman

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 06:35 AM

Congrats Eric. It has also been non stop rain in NH this week. I admit sleeping in.

Paul your last post is one of the reasons I enjoy turkey hunting so much. This foundation is on the mountain behind camp. Note the threshold on the left. The pile of stone to the right was the base for the center chimney. I asked a forester friend about the age and his reply is below.

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If you look at technology of how the granite stones of the foundation were cut, the round plug drill marks date to about 1840 at earliest. Prior to that flat wedges were used and before that the cellars were of round field stone and most have collapsed and filled…. Also a threshold stone like that and also cut granite sills on fancier homes were added as the farm prospered. By the Depression, folks with wreckers or a winch and trailer were salvaging and re-selling cut stone sills but often the threshold stones remain as they were too massive…. If you dig in the center chimney rubble you’ll find the buried bricks… The chimneys would collapse in 10 to 20 years when exposed to the elements due to freeze thaw weathering of the mortar.



Lastly in that the surrounding pine & oak woods have at least one old relict dead white birch – one of the earliest and fast-growing and shortlived hardwood successional species (after pin cherry and aspen) that tells me the pasture likely abandoned 80-100 years before present so that is circa 1930 which was a real watershed year when so many of the last hill farms went out…. Or the farm could have been abandoned in the 1870’s and had a crop of old field pine that was logged off at 50 to 60 years and milled on a portable steam mill before the 1920’s to release birch and pine – oak types…..
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#7 PA RIDGE RUNNER

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 03:27 PM

Coalman this particular foundation is quite old. My mother says she saw the foundation when she was just a youngin and she is 92 now. There is another house foundation above this one about 300 yds or so. The farm that my maternal grandmother grew up on is next door with fields going literally up the side of the mountain. They are too steep to have been farmed by anything but horses. Lots of stone fencerows there too.
If God had a refrigerator would your picture be on it.
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