Tom Turkey!

The Ontario spring Wild Turkey hunt is in full swing. The opening morning of the spring season has always proven to be quite exciting and successful for us at Legend Outdoors. This year followed suit and we were able to experience a thrilling and rewarding early morning hunt.

In the weeks prior to opening day there were some looming concerns as there had yet to be any turkey sightings on the properties to which we had gained permission to hunt. I wasn’t letting this bother me too much as the large amount of snow which had yet to disappear in the fields was most likely hindering the movements of the turkeys from their wintering areas. Sure enough, days before the season started, the turkeys had returned to the properties we had been scouting.

Many hours were put into watching and scouting these birds, finding the “target” birds for this year and learning their daily patterns and routines. One property which stood out for me always seemed to house some respectably sized toms.The property itself was a very hard to hunt field, and in previous years, although many attempts had been made, we had yet to harvest a bird from there. I decided I wanted to change that status this year. I knew it would be difficult and I wasn’t quite sure if I could make it happen, but I was determined to hunt that field on opening morning.

On the eve of opening day we watched the target bird and knew it was headed to roost in it’s usual area of trees. My plan was simple, it wasn’t going to be comfortable, but I had faith it would work. It involved some army crawling and it probably wasn't going to be pretty.

Opening morning we were able to get set up within 75 yards of the roosted birds. This particular tom had two faithful hens with him at all times and I knew it would prove difficult to convince him to check out my setup.

As the sun rose the turkeys left the roost and maintained a safe distance from my Benelli and me.

I was fortunate enough to watch this tom strut his stuff for over an hour. Although mostly staying a good distance out of range, he came quite close on multiple occasions to take a look at my hen decoys and make sure they could see him flaunt. He was careful however to stay out of my comfortable shooting range.

Finally, his faithful following of hens took interest in my decoys and wanted a closer look. Sure enough once they began inspecting my decoys the tom slowly came into range following his hens.

The excitement of the hunt was incredible. I prepared to take the lethal shot but was forced to refrain as one of the gobblers’ faithful followers decided to keep herself between me and my target bird. I was not able to take a shot that I could be sure would only touch the tom.

Patience.

A lesson that has been drilled into my head since I was a kid. I waited. Kept breathing and waited for my opportunity. It would eventually come. At that point the strutting tom was just inside my predetermined kill zone, the maximum distance of a shot I wanted to take to ensure a clean kill. I took the shot and was rewarded with a flopping bird. The hens scattered in panic. My heart was racing.

It was an amazing feeling knowing I was able to harvest this bird. He weighed in at a solid 20lbs, had a beard of 8 inches and gorgeous one inch spurs. Wild turkeys are beautiful birds and I definitely took many moments to marvel at this particular creature.

Harvesting this bird was such a rewarding and memorable experience. I look forward to enjoying the meals which will be the result from this hunt and of course I am already looking forward to tagging my second bird of the spring!


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