Opening Day Tom…

This past Monday was opening day of spring turkey hunting season here in Ohio and the only place I could be found was out in the woods. I made plans to hunt with a good buddy of mine who is a great hunter and all around outdoorsman.

I am fortunate enough to have access to 250 acres of prime Medina County farm land for all my hunting trips and that was where we decided to hunt. The land does not get very much pressure and is filled with all kinds of game.

We got set-up in the field at about 5:30AM with the stars still visible in the sky and about 1 hour or so before legal shooting light. It was a chilly 38 degrees with expected highs near 65 later in the day. Luckily, we got a day with no real breeze to speak of.

We set up in a pop-up blind on a field filled with corn stubble from the previous year’s harvest with a woodlot to our backs. We set up two hen decoys and a full-strut tom decoy in front of us at about 15 yards.

Around 6 o’clock we started hearing our first gobbles of the spring. What sounded like a couple of different birds a couple of hundred yards back in the woods started lighting up on the roost. However, once they flew down, they promptly shut up and we assumed they had paired up with hens.

Things were pretty quiet for a while until about 7:30 AM when my buddy saw a gobbler running in and a hen creep out of the treeline. We thought that gobbler wasn’t going to stop until he gave us a clean shot, but for some reason, he hung up back behind our blind. The hen did come out into the field and fed for awhile but soon disappeared back into the woods.

Around 8:30 AM was when the real action started. Birds started gobbling their heads off way back in the woods again. As far as we could tell, about three different birds were gobbling about 200 yards into the woods near a creek bottom.

My buddy started hitting the call about a half hour later and those birds were calling back hard. After a few minutes a group of jakes worked their way into the field but they wouldn’t commit to the decoys. They fed for a while while always seeming to keep looking back into the woods.

Then at about 9:45 AM, they vanished back into the woods. Then almost out of nowhere, a longbeard emerged from the treeline on my right. He was looking for a fight and walked straight up to the full-strut tom decoy. Before he could start attacking the decoy I made my shot. It was a clean kill right at 15 yards.

My first ever turkey and it was a beauty and on opening day nonetheless. He weighed in right at 23 pounds. His beard went 11″ and his spurs were right at an inch. That puts him right around three years old.

All in all it was a great hunt with a good friend made even better given the fortune of finally being able to fill a turkey tag. It was a fun morning in the spring woods and I already can’t wait to do it again next time.

In a previous post, I listed my outdoor goals for this year. Filling a turkey tag was one of them and I’m glad to say that I already met that goal. Only four more to go!

Here are a couple pictures:

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9 thoughts on “Opening Day Tom…

  1. What a great day! Congrats on filling your tag on the first day, that doesn’t happen often. I’m a little jealous, I’ve gotten next to no hunting in this year. Let us know how it tastes! We have a rafter of around 70 turkeys that go through the pasture below the house every morning. We haven’t bothered with them because I’ve heard wild turkey tastes too “gamey.”
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks! What kind of hunting do you like to do?
      70 turkeys is a lot! I’ve never seen that many at once.
      I’ll definitely do a blog post when I cook the turkey and let everyone know how it tasted.

      • Ive been pheasant and pig hunting, Deer are on my bucket list!
        Ive enjoyed reading your posts Brian.

  2. Wow! That turkey is huge. I maybe close to the city, but my area is still pretty rural and I see wild turkey’s all the time. All along the highway and close to the cows also. How much did it weigh? He looks pretty big.

  3. first of all brian, congrats on crossing one thing off your ‘outdoors goals list’! that must feel awesome! this was such a cool post, i was totally engrossed in it and felt like i was right there with you just patiently waiting for the perfect shot. it was well written and super descriptive which really helped set the scene for us readers. i certainly got an anxious, excited vibe each time there was even just a little action or noise from the woods. when your eventual prize approached the decoy i was right there with you in the blind waiting, breathing hard, and sweating. you probably are much more seasoned and calm in that situation than me, i mean you had the steady hand to get the bird as i’m pretty sure i would not!
    was it not just an incredible rush when you realized you’d hit it? or were you more in shock? either way, what an exhilarating experience.
    next, those pictures are insane, great decision to include them, that sucker is massive! 23 pounds, WOW! good for you. when you started out that day did you have an ‘inkling’ or a ‘feeling’ you were going to fulfill this goal of yours? or were you pleasantly surprised instead? thanks for sharing this engaging story! you’ll have to let us know how it was if you and your family enjoyed the fruits of your labor.

    • Thanks Vanessa! It definitely feels good to cross something off the list.
      I actually would not consider myself very seasoned in these situations. This was my first successful hunt ever! I was surprised at how calm I managed to stay.
      It was actually really funny after I hit it because my buddy and I just sat there in like stunned silence for about 10 seconds or so before finally starting to celebrate. That kind of goes back to my other blog post on outdoors camaraderie and friendship.
      I did keep telling my buddy that I thought we were going to get one for sure that day. That’s kind of just part of my personality. Always being confident in a sort of joking manner before doing something. This time it actually came out that way though!
      I will definitely let everyone know how it ends up tasting. First I have to figure out how to cook it. haha.
      Thanks again!

  4. I love seeing how other people live — I’m not much for hunting, but this I have to admit, you had me at gobbler. đŸ™‚ What a great story and pictures. The only thing missing…where’s the feast? Great concept for a blog. Keep writing; you have a gift.

    • Thanks for the great comment Kim! I really appreciate it. I’m glad I could get you interested in a story that was about something you don’t have much interest in.
      I’ll definitely be making a post about the feast once I finally cook it. Still working on finding a great recipe to try.
      It’s also really nice to hear you think the concept of the blog is a good one. And it’s always nice to get a compliment on my writing!
      Thanks again. I hope you keep reading my blog in the future.

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