Season so far...

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Season so far...

Post  MEhunter on Tue May 19, 2015 11:09 am

Been a fun turkey season so far up here in the North going back and forth between Maine and New Hampshire. After the brutal winter we had the population is way down in some areas. In a sense it's kind of made the hunting easier during the week when less guys are out because there are so few hens around and the birds have been hot. Our jake numbers seem to be ok, so I'm hoping the tom numbers jump up next year, but will see. I really really hope they either eliminate the fall season completely or switch it to one bird in the fall (most of us have already said we won't shoot a bird in the fall either way). They really should have dropped the spring limit back to one as well. Any way, couple more weeks left to go and one more tag left for me to fill if I find the right one. 11 kills, 7 misses, and a few others that should have died, but not shot at due to inexperience. We had several heart breaking misses jr weekend with the young kids (6 and 7 year olds) in NH. Couple of the inexperienced adults I've taken have missed as well. I've seen some kids shake, but two of the older guys I introduced to turkey hunting this year have shook so bad when the birds are coming in all I can do is laugh. My patience has been tested on a several occasions with nice birds that should have died that didn't, but needless to say I think I've hooked 4-5 more people to turkey hunting this year. Some excellent stories along the way, but this thread would be too long if I shared all the stories from this season. Here's a few pictures I've snapped along the way...

Walking in Jr morning in Maine


First day in the woods for this youngster in Maine (12 years old)






Been taking this kid in ME and NH since he was 8. This was his last jr day ever. His first tom of the day after passing on 11 jakes through out the morning


Not long after his first tom we were able to connect on his second




Here's the 4 birds for the day. I didn't get a field pic of the 2nd jake the other kid shot, we were in a hurry to get over on another bird that a buddy said was gobbling his head off and on the move.


My opening afternoon tom. Had been watching him for weeks up by my camp. Always is nice to get them in a piece of woods you've hunted your entire life in and know so well. I had to watch/listen to him strut and gobble in the hardwoods for over an hour before him and the hen he was with finally worked their way into range.


This next one is probably the most memorable so far. Connor is only 6 years old and after spending three mornings turkey hunting with him I'm just amazed by his drive to hunt. I've taken numerous jrs out over the years and I've never met one that was more attentive throughout the entire day as he was. Whether it was roosting the night before or hunting during the day he never napped or talked about anything but hunting. This kid is flat out obsessed already. Every time we went in the woods the kid was practically walking on my boot heels the entire time. After a miss jr weekend and a couple other super close calls with toms he just couldn't quite get a shot off at we finally connected on the 3rd morning of New Hampshire's regular season. The three of us were all pretty stoked. I got this hunt and post hunt reaction all on film.

First picture right after we got up to the bird





Loved this pano shot of a morning setup on top of a fairly good sized mountain. Had called the tom we were after this particular morning in the night before to about 30 feet, but the kid just couldn't get on him in time to shoot. Then the next am a different kid with me missed this bird.


My 2nd ME bird. I hadn't planned on shooting a second bird in ME for a while, but after all the misses and birds I had come in that I could have shot, but the hunters couldn't I decided to carry the gun again. Glad I did for this one because the guy I had with me didn't sit right where I told him. This tom and his buddy got around my guy and came straight into my lap for a 10-12 yard shot. Couple different versions of him...Man don't they have some beautiful colors...





About an hour after I shot the one above we struck this one up and he took about 20 minutes to finally call in close enough for a shot.


This guys bird ranks real close to the jake the 6 year old shot. This friend of mine below is quite the character. His "sh1t eatin grin" never leaves his face at all during the day and his personality matches the smile. He should have tagged out early in the year, but he missed one and had a couple others he just couldn't seem to see well enough to get a shot at before they spooked. We talked about shooting toms vs jakes and I told him "Jimmy if the bird comes in and he's got you all fired up just shoot it, whatever it is, it's your first one." After passing a couple jakes early on in the season this guy put on a great show off the roost. He came about 400 yards up a dirt road strutting and gobbling the entire way. The way the road was made his gobble sound extremely loud. My other buddy I had sitting next to him coaching him while I was out back said he's never seen someone shake even close to that bad. The kid could barely hold it together, but was able to make the shot. Man was he pumped.  


Just a couple random shots I took of my box call and a shot gun shell in an old abandoned orchard during a mid day walk



After about 2 hours of walking we got some birds fired up. We actually got on them earlier in the walk, but I think they saw us setting up on them. Well any way an hour or so later I fired the 3 of them back up and he was able to get one of them.





Woodcock nest under the tree we took the photos in.


Biggest bird I've ever called in in my life. 1 1/2 spurs!! We don't see many of these old 5 or so year old birds up here at all. If hunters don't get them generally the winter, coyotes, or bobcats do. Quite the trophy, far more big bucks running around up here than 4-5-6 year old turkeys.





And finally back to my buddy Jimmy. He really wanted to get a tom...I was able to roost a group of birds in an old secluded apple orchard Sunday night. We got in and setup by 3:45 Monday am and were within 50 yards of them off the roost. The birds all pitched down within range and I could have killed this tom from the minute he flew down, but there was one briar patch in front of Jim preventing him from taking a shot. Well I told you how excited he was with that jake. Imagine how he was with this big old long beard gobbling within range for 10 minutes before he could get a shot. At one point the tom was breeding a hen and I told him "Jimmy he's breeding a hen now." His response was "Well that'll be the last hen he ever breeds." I just about spit my mouth call out. Needless to say, old Jimmy was right.  

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Re: Season so far...

Post  Willy on Tue May 19, 2015 2:42 pm

Super pictures and a great read.  That picture with the bird in the tree all bloomed out, Is that a cherry tree or an apple ?  Pretty picture whichever it is.
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Re: Season so far...

Post  bowGal on Tue May 19, 2015 5:37 pm

Now that is what you call one heck of Turkey season,  Loved reading   and seeing all the success  photo's  - Awesome stuff  Dave, Congratulations  to   everyone!
  Those  Youth hunter pic's   are fantastic, That last little hunter's photo's just blessed me with the biggest smile ,
   The  photo and color phase of your second bird are absolutely  Goregous!!!!!! Bravo and again congrats to  Everyone- and most of all thank YOU for sharing,
 Are there any good paying Job's up there  in  Maine,?

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Re: Season so far...

Post  soil on Tue May 19, 2015 7:00 pm

This is a great post!  Congrats to everyone who was successful in these pics. My favorite has to be little Connor smiling ear to ear!
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Re: Season so far...

Post  MEhunter on Wed May 20, 2015 9:00 am

Thanks everyone!

Willy, all trees pictured are apple trees.

Several good paying jobs up this way Barb, not sure how you and Larry would do with the low deer numbers though Very Happy . It would be quite the change from what you have now.

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Re: Season so far...

Post  BuckRubIL on Wed May 20, 2015 12:42 pm

The best turkey thread I've read yet! cheers  Congrats on a great season so far Dave, you've been piling them up for sure... keep up the good work! Cheers!
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Re: Season so far...

Post  Mountainman Vic on Wed May 20, 2015 8:36 pm

Great read Dave. Awesome pics as always.

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Re: Season so far...

Post  shedder on Tue May 26, 2015 11:34 am

AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME!!  Congrats to all!  What a great read.  Thank you for that!
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Re: Season so far...

Post  TheCReW on Wed May 27, 2015 8:51 am

Wow, looks like an amazing season so far!! Thank you for capturing it in pics and sharing it. Makes me want to go turkey hunting even more now!

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