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Here Comes the Big Boy

Here Comes the Big Boy


 

I arrived just as it was getting light and parked down in a valley.  The landowner had told me of a big tom hanging around the house and being a big loud mouth just after day light.  He acted like he was the only one in the woods and valleys.  I knew right away what he needed was a good shooting.

 

At the recommendation of a close friend I had picked up the Funky Chicken Decoy from Bass Pro and put it out.  My friend had personal experience with this decoy and told me to get one as when the toms spot it, they become enraged.  This I felt I had to see.


flextone Funky Chicken Turkey Decoy

 

flextone Funky Chicken Turkey Decoy

Click on the link or the picture and buy from Bass Pro.

 

I climbed up a hill and put out the Funky chicken and a couple of breeding hens decoys.  The instructions that came with the decoy had mentioned to get a couple of feeding hens as they believed it would calm the toms a little and let them focus on the Funky Chicken.  This made sense to me, but at this time I did not have the time to pick up a couple of feeders.  Breeders was what they were going to see.

 

A good place was found to hide and the sun would be slightly behind me and off to my left.  Pushing back into the timber, the concealment was good on the left and right, but I was wide open to the front. This was not good, but I was at least in the shadows and with the leaf suit on.  Turkey success was accomplished with this manner before, but it had also fowled up some good shots. Because of their excellent vision, they had found something wrong and had split.

I am sitting on the top of the hill pushed back into the opening just to the right of the center of the picture.

 

It did not take long and off to my right two specks were spotted coming out of the timber on a direct line to my hiding place.  As they they came for me they did what turkeys always do.  They scratched and picked up seeds.  Closer and closer they came and then they started up the hill.  At this time I could see one was a really big tom while his partner was a really big jake.  All of a sudden the big tom stopped dead in his tracks.  The jake kept moving slowly up the hill scratching and pecking at the ground picking up seeds.

 

Thinking to myself I said, "Whatever you do and regardless of how uncomfortable this might become, do not make one move."  As he stood there my gluteus maximus was getting sore and to pull up my legs would have given me a lot of relief.  I did not make one single move other than breathing.

 

Now this was really interesting.  This giant, as he stared toward the top of the hill, knew something wasn't quite right.  Also, he had a good view of the Funky Chicken decoy, and it was obvious he was fascinated.  I do not believe the breeding hen decoys made a bit of difference. This guy had not gotten big by being careless.  Slowly he took a couple of steps forward and spread out his beautiful big fan.  As the sun hit him with the fan spread out, I could see the beauty of the big guy with all the colors.  To re-position myself would have been a great relief.  I did not move and began to hurt.

 

At this point, he was probably 50 yards down the hill.  I still did not think I was seen as I was surrounded by the shadow of the trees around me.  He began to walk back and forth with his fan all spread out and his head tucked back showing off his prowess.  If you can visualize what was going on, he was initially 30 degrees to my right and walked all fanned out, of course, till he was straight to my front.  He was close, but I wanted a closer shot.  It was decided that when the shot was made, he would be a whole lot closer so as not to cripple this big beautiful bird.  I wanted him in the freezer.

 

He kept this movement up for at least 15 minutes slowly getting closer.  The jake stayed right with him and at times the jake was between the tom and me.  That was when I re-positioned myself, got the gun upon my knee, and made sure I could get a good shot.  This was most important.  On the first shot I wanted to see the bird tumble and flop around like they always do.  If he turned right his backside was facing me for just a couple of seconds and I could get re-positioned.  When he turned left he was staring straight at me.  What I wanted to do was take a picture, but that would have been too much movement, and that would spook him for sure.

 

The Funky Chicken decoy was out about 15 yards, and a marker had been placed at the 20 yard spot.  I shoot 3.5 inch shells with a full choke and Winchester shells shown below.  At the 20 yard spot he would be history.  Closer and closer he came and my patience was wearing really thin, but it was maintained.  He strutted and strutted but would not come any closer, and slowly he unfolded his fan and began walking down the hill with the jake.

 

An expletive (deleted) was uttered as he sauntered off.  Should I have shot?  This will be an unknown that will keep me awake at night.  How many chances does a person get in a life time at a really giant bird.

 

Then I heard a hen right behind me and as I turned to look at her, she split off in a hurry making a lot of noise.  The sun had moved to a point where I was illuminated from behind me and this may have spooked off my quarry.  What has really left me feeling low about this loss was the fact that the landowner's brother came out one afternoon and shot the biggest tom he had ever seen.  It happens.

How to Hunt Book

New book by Hank Huntington is now available...get yours today!


 

 

 

 

Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck.

More Stories By Hank Huntington

Hank Huntington, Esq., is a native of southwest Iowa, healthcare professional, entrepreneur, accomplished pilot, hunting and fishing enthusiast, connoisseur, father and husband. He developed this web site for people to share their fun and excitement about the great outdoors. The best part of this hobby is, after a successful hunting or fishing trip, you are able to dine on fresh game or fish, after all, “ How do you eat a golf ball?” asks Hank. Hanks father and grandfather were both avid outdoorsmen so Hank learned his hunting and fishing skills from them and has passed the tradition down to the fourth generation. Plus the love of the outdoors, and a craving for exquisite dinning, would round out the package.

As a small boy, he fished a local oxbow lake formed by the Missouri River. The lake is primarily old river bottom mud, is not real clear, and has a lot of vegetation. The southeast corner holds a huge lily pad bed, and it was there Hank learned to drag through the water and across the tops of the pads, a Johnson Silver Minnow, with a pork rind attached. This was the place for big mouth bass, and there were lots of them, and young Hank loved to catch them.

At age of 12 Hank started going with his Dad hunting, and by age 14 he was an accomplished shooter with a 12-gauge pump. Shortly after that he was given his first shotgun a Winchester Model 12 pump; he still has it today. It looks like almost new, but the gun is never to be hunted again. Duck hunting in the late 50’s had little pressure after the first two weeks of the season, and when the north wind blew and it got really damp and cold, the big Canada Mallards came.

After graduation from high school, Hank attended Midland College in Fremont, Nebraska. There he met a fellow outdoorsman, and their friendship developed in the fields and streams of central Nebraska.

Hank had little time for hunting and fishing while attending professional school at Creighton University. After graduation he married his college sweetheart and they settled down to career, family, and as often as possible, hunting and fishing.

Hank and his family frequently flew their plane north to Canada to the legendary Canadian fly in lodges to fish for Northern and Walleye. Here he taught his son all the things his father had taught him about fishing. Most of the time the two went alone to the north woods, but when camping was not involved, his wife Pam went along. She always enjoys the fact that she has caught a bigger Northern Pike than Hank, and he has been fishing for 60 years. Today along the Missouri River valley, the deer population increased to the point that in many areas they are a nuisance. The duck, goose, and turkey has also population have also soared.

Area lakes have been well stocked. Many even have a walleye stocking program that makes outstanding fishing. Several are within easy driving distance of Hank’s lodge-like lakeside home. All packaged together is great dining. By the way, Hank harvests only what he will share at a table with family or friends.

Hank says, “Whenever I am on a lake, in the woods, or in the blind, I am always reminded of God’s great bounty and His constant presence. And whether in the great outdoors or at home with my wife, I strive to be a good steward of nature and all that God has given us.”

Good hunting! Good fishing! Good day!

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