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Turkey (pg2)


April 22 - Turkey # 12 - Mike Wright. This morning, Mike went to the lake to listen.  Heard one near stand # 60 and made his way to him...set up...heard another behind him...eased around the tree and yelped a couple of times...nothing responded.  Suddenly, from the corner of his eye, he spotted the original bird walking by at 15 yards.  The Tom jumped up and flew to the right.  Mike swung his gun from right to left and tried to time the impossible shot with opposite trajectories.  Needless to say, he didn’t connect.

A little while later, he heard another gobble...set up...yelped a few times...and another Tom was strutting straight to him.  This time the shooter, the shotgun and the bird were in sync.  The deed was completed at 7:55 AM.  Two bird opportunities within 45 minutes!

And, what a bird it was!  19 lbs., 8 oz., 10 1/8" Beard, 1 5/16" left spur and 1 ¼" right spur.

April 21 - Turkey # 11 - Bill Clark. With the storm thundering this morning, Wilson Burton and his guest Bill Clark chose to sleep in.  But they had a plan.  Last night Bill had been fishing and heard a very hot Tom west of the lake.  So, he basically had one roosted.  This morning at 9, they went to the lake, crept up the point leading to the clear cut to the west and spotted several Toms strutting in the field near Stand # 2.  They slowly backed away with Bill assuming a position in the wooded saddle and Wilson backing another 50 yards east.  Wilson called and got an immediate response.  After every 2 or 3 gobbles, Wilson would call again.  Slowly but surely the Tom walked down the road toward this cute sounding hen until he came face to face with Bill.  The job was completed at 35 yards.  First ever was quite a trophy - 18 lbs., 14 oz., 11 1/2" Beard, 1 1/4" spurs (pointed and curled), probably about 5 years old!  Congratulations!  Perhaps Wilson will forward some pictures.

Here they are:

BillClarkandWilsonApril212006Bill Clark and Wilson Burton
18 lbs.,14 oz., 11 1/2" Beard , 1 1/4" Spurs
April 21, 2006


Bill Clark in the classic Turkey Picture..... BillClarkApril212006

April 20 - Turkey # 10 - Con Knox. Master caller Con Knox ventured out early Thursday morning and the rain forced him back to enjoy a snack and let it subside.  He then walked up the road and was looking for an appropriate hill to call and listen when 3 Toms walk by.  Con, still standing, picked up his gun and fired.  Result - 16 1/4 lbs., 9 1/2 inch beard, 1.0 inch spurs.  The "Con-method" works again!

April 13 - Turkey # 9 - Jim Love. What could be easier?  Jim started hunting at the crack of noon, slipped into a one man blind near stand # 11, called once, received a hearty response, put down his call and never uttered another sound, picked up his book, read a few pages, looked up and saw a nice Tom in full strut escorted by a few hens walking straight down the road to him, waited until they were about 20 yards away and fired.  Result - 17 7/8  lbs., 10 inch beard, 1.0  inch spurs.  Per Jim, "Nothing to this game".

April 12 - Turkey # 8 - Quinton Robertson. This retired MLB pitcher and Wilson Burton were setting up for a long afternoon hunt, when Quinton heard a faint gobble.  He whispered to Wilson who was busy moving leaves out of the blind and otherwise making noise.  They quickly got into position - Quinton the shooter, Wilson the caller.  5 minutes later, here comes the very hot Tom and is felled.  Game over - 10 minutes total hunt.  Weight, measurements and picture to follow.

April 10 - Turkey # 7 - Jim Love Jr.  First Turkey ever, and he did all the work - heard it, set up, called it in, waited and waited for the bird to release his strut, decided he couldn't wait any longer and BAM.  Vital statistics - 18 1/4 lbs., 9 1/2" Beard and 1" Spurs.  He has some great pictures he'll send me some day...

April 7 - Turkey # 6 - Wilson Burton. This TVA bird spoke a little too much and was taken at 6:40 in the TVA.  But, wow, what a bird!  21 1/4 lbs., 10 1/4" Beard and 1 1/4" Spurs, scoring 66.75 on the NWTF Scoring System.

April 6 - Turkey # 5 - Wilson Burton. After three misses on a bird a couple of days ago, Wilson managed to coax one close enough to stay in his pattern.  Result - 18 lbs., 2 oz., Beard 9 3/4", Spur 1" - a beautiful 3 year old!  Taken in TVA area.

April 1 - Quite a start.  Richard Speer is publishing an over/under number of 25 Toms to be taken this year.  Here are the first weekend's results:

5:40 AM - Nate Greene - 19 lbs., 14 oz., Beard 9 1/2", Spur 3/4".
5:50 AM - Owen Hardcastle - 21 lbs., Beard 9 1/4", Spur 1 1/16".
7:30 AM - Will Morgan - 17 lbs., 7 oz., Beard 10", Spur 3/4".
7:35 AM - Greg Sheanshang - 17 lbs., 12 oz., Beard 9 1/4", Spur 1.0"


 Will Morgan & Nate Greene


Owen Hardcastle


Greg Sheanshang

October 27 - Turkey rules and Regulations set.  The Fall Turkey season is November 12 - 18 with one bearded turkey allowed.  This Spring we will be able to harvest 4 Toms.  Spring Turkey Season is April 1 through May 14.    Also, this Spring there will be a special Youth Hunt on March 25 - 26, with one bearded turkey allowed.

May 11 - Will Morgan # 11 - The Old Homestead Warriors - This is the tale of several efforts to take one of these birds.

The story starts with Jimmy Barnes.  He had spotted them several times hanging around the general vicinity of the Old Homestead Field, Stand # 1, Stand # 2, the Lake Food Plot, the Hidden Food Plot, etc.

The first hunters were Kari Sheanshang and Nat Harris who ventured into a secret place in the middle of the field in front of Stand # 1.  They heard the birds and devised a plan for the next outing.  Score - Turkeys 1, Hunters 0.

The next hunting trip, Nat set up on the east side of the Hidden Food Plot, had a great morning with plenty of birds and plotted their movements.  In the process, a coyote came too close to the live hen decoys and had to be harvested. Score - Turkeys 2, Hunters 0, Coyote -1.

The next morning, Daniel Morgan and Doug Hardcastle set up for the same bird(s), and followed him (them) up the point toward Stand # 2, but eventually lost.  Score - Turkeys 3, Hunters 0.

After a few days, turkey hunter extraordinaire, William Morgan, armed with all this knowledge, entered the fray.  Here's what he had to report:

"Nat told me where this bird roosts and that he was very call shy.  He assured me that if I didn't call, he would fly down and walk right past me.  Well, maybe I called once, I'm not exactly sure, but he flew down and went the other way.  I listened to him gobble for over an hour and decided to chase him.  I got close the 1st time, called softly, and he immediately went the other way.  I spent the next 3 hours running from set up to set up trying to get in front of him.  Finally, by being totally quiet and not calling at all, I shot this one at 10:45 when they (2 of them) walked into the hidden food plot!  I took the first one -  18 lbs, 1.25" spurs, 9 inch beard. Nice old bird!"


But, look at the curve and points.  Surely a 3 to 4 year old!

Final Score - Turkeys 3, Hunters 1.  Nice job, Will!

May 3 - Toby Magsig - # 10 - Skip Neblett's son-in-law got his first ever - a 15 pound Jake.  I don't know the story, but I understand he was in one of the duck blinds at the 3-way Runway in the bottoms.  However, at 15 pounds, I think this bird should be drug tested for steroids.

April 29 - Wilson Burton - Turkey # 9 -

Wilson2April292005This was a case of chasing the man across three territories.  Wilson heard him initially in Area 1 E, followed him up and down several points across 1 C, climbed up the north side of a point in 1 W as the bird gobbled up the south side hollow, and clucked after 10 - 12 gobbles.  After the second session, the big guy gave up and approached.  The deed was accomplished at about 20 yards.  As it turned out, he was double-Wilson2beardApril292005bearded and weighed exactly 20 pounds, had 17" of beards (9" + 8") and sported some very sharp 1 1/8" spurs. 

April 26 - Turkey # 8 - Jim Love. The next morning, Jim ventured to the Do-nut Field early.  Same thing.  A fly down cackle, some soft clucks and yelps, and in comes this bird quietly.  19 lbs., 1 oz., 10 1/2" beard, 1" spurs.

April 25 - Turkey # 7 - Jim Love. Harvested at the Trigger Finger Field in the afternoon.  Jim made one or two calls, put down his box caller and waited.  About 30 minutes later, in walks this guy - quietly.  Taken at 20 yards - 19 lbs., 2 oz., 9 1/2" beard, 1 1/2" spurs - apparently a 3 or 4 year old bird.

April 8 - Turkey # 6 - Nate Greene - Here is the proof that someone got a turkey.  It looks like Nate backed up real fast and caught him mid-breast.  I'm sure we'll hear the real story some day.......


Nate's version:  Last year a bird snuck up on me while I was asleep.  I was within 10 feet of the same tree last Friday afternoon at around 2:30 and yes I went to sleep again.  I had been calling and napping for about an hour without a response at all, then I stood up to retrieve my decoy and walk to another area.  I said to myself what the hell, and called one more time and was immediately answered with a huge gobble that was within 75 yards of my locale.  He was just below the ridge I am on but I could not see the hot Tom.  So, I sat back down rather quickly and put my gun up and took off the safety.  Now I am shaking with excitement.  Then I heard 1 gobble, followed by another and then another.  Turned out there were three Toms traveling together, and I could not see over the bump in the hill in front of me.  But I could barely see the fan of one Turkey and then the blue head of another Tom and then the blue head of number three.  My experience is telling me the strutting Tom is likely the dominant bird but he is also the third in line and the other two are LEAVING.  I figured I would quickly have a small window to shoot the bird and that it would happen very soon.  I had no time to think about what to do.  I could only see the head and a few inches of the birds neck when I shot. When I finally shot, the ground and leaves in front of me were going everywhere.  I jumped up not knowing if I hit the bird or not.  But good ole Heavy Shot 3 1/2 inch did the job.  I paced 45 yards to the downed bird and was hoping and praying that it was NOT a Jake.  The bird checked in at 18 lbs.,  10 inch beard, 1 inch spurs, probably two years old.  Wow!  By the way, had I not been sitting on a stool that was elevating me slightly off the ground I would not have had a shot.  Use a stool!

That's it.  The monkey is gone!  Now I focus on number two.

April 4 - Turkey # 5 - Clay Iaquinta's First Bird - Story per Wilson...

DSCN1046Shortly after sunrise April 4,  ten year old Clay Iaquinta from Gracie, KY moved from being a novice turkey hunter to a turkey killer.  Clay's dad, Frank, had taken Wilson Burton deer hunting near Cadiz, KY last year.  During the hunt he mentioned he wanted his son have a chance to shoot a turkey.  Wilson invited the pair to Heart's Desire to fulfill the dream.

The pair arrived at Heart's Desire Sunday evening, successfully sighted in Clay's youth model, single shot 20 gauge, but failed to cheer the UT Volunteers women's basketball team to the National Championship game.

Turkey hunting proved better than basketball.  The next morning the trio set out extra early for a natural crossing, built a camo net blind, set out three decoys, and waited for fly down time.  Distant gobbles could be heard to the south, and clucks and yelps could be heard to the northeast.  Being in the middle can be fun.

Wilson tried to sound like a flock of hens using slate, box and mouth calls.  The combination worked, even though the birds neverDSCN1047 gobbled after flying down.  Within thirty minutes Frank spied five birds trying to slip in silently.  The big boy took a peek and then hung back, while the four jakes moved in for a closer look.  Clay slowly got his gun up and over to the right about the time the lead jakes started to putt their uncertainties. When Wilson said "shoot", Clay dropped the hammer.  Amid the winged retreat a jake lay flapping.  Clay moved from being a turkey hunter to a turkey killer with his first bird and a big grin.

His next question was, "Can we go fishing now!"

April 3 - In the morning, for bird # 4, Skip Neblett joined in with a nice 2 year old, 19 lb. bird with 9" beard and 7/8" spurs..

April 2, 2005 - By 5:45, the first was down - by Richard Speer (2 year old, 18 1/2 lbs., 9 1/2" beard, 1" spurs) ...  These birds were thoroughly scouted by Richard and he was perfectly positioned at 5:00 AM CST among a whole bunch.  He picked one and BAM! - Down went the first of the seasonFrankStephens1!

Later, the second by Frank Stephens (3 year old, 20 lbs.,
9 3/4" beard and 1 1/4" spurs)...  The story here is that the "Dream Team" of Frank and Robert Alexander scored again (same as last year)!  This time Robert called in about 80 birds and Frank had to pick out the biggest and the best!


Later, # 3 by Will Morgan (2 year old, 20 lbs., 6 oz.,
9" beard and 7/8" spurs). It's my understanding that Will successfully called up an entire colony of Jakes.  He was then imprisoned by them andjpg0005 basically could not move or call.  But the three hens and this Tom were not annoyed by the Jakes and continued to approach.  From the corner of his peripheral vision, this guy was spotted.  By not calling to disturb their movement, Will successfully waited until this guy entered the opening and pulled the trigger.  Down!  First Day!  No more anguish!  The season is on........

March 6 - It's Turkey Time in Tennessee - for State-wide, Youth-Only Hunting March 26 - 27 (2 days).  Ages 10 - 16, with the 17th birthday being the cut-off.  Bag Limit is 1 for the two days (not one per day), but the only limitation is that it must be bearded... meaning, it can be a bearded hen.  Last year, this was a one-day hunt.

For the rest of us, the season starts April 2nd and has been extended 5 days to May 15.  Bag limit is the same as last year.  A hunter may not take more that 4 bearded turkeys - only one per day - maximum of 3 on private property - maximum of 2 on WMA.  So, if you take 2 on a WMA, you may only take 2 more on the statewide hunt.

May 7 - Turkey # 25 - Richard Speer - Here is a picture of the Fearsome Foursome - Nate Greene, Carl Johnson, Richard Speer and Michael Zanolli.  Somehow or another, these 4 guys helped Richard sneak up on this bird and take him.TurkeyhuntwithZanolliJohnsonandSpeer001copy

The story is now in.  It seems the saga started with Richard and Carl chasing a bird between Silver Gate and Stand 13.  Carl and Richard had different approaches, but a large possum got in the way.  After a few attempts to eat a hunter, he left.  It's hot now.  So, Richard decides the air conditioned comfort of his pick-up truck would be more suitable for showing Carl the property.  So, in the bottoms, as far away from the lodge as possible, Richard cleverly shows Carl the deepest hole he could find.  Stuck.  Done.  No budging.  Called for reinforcements.  Nothing.  So, they started the long walk back.  As an afterthought, Richard grabbed his gun and 2 shells.  Camouflaged with his finest white hat, Richard and Carl set out.  They were met and picked up by Will's friend, but on the short trip out, in front of food plot 3, stand # 15, they spotted a strutting Tom.  Carl said "Go for it".  Our zealous hunter crawled into position.  But, unlike the previous recanting, the area was signed out to Nate and Michael.  They had been chasing the bird all morning and were in their truck approaching from the river side...Richard was in place on the west side of the food plot...suddenly there was movement of the hen... then of the Tom... then the approaching vehicle... it was now or never... BAM!... toward the general direction of the approaching auto... down goes Tom... soon to arrive are Carl, Will's friend, a bewildered  Michael and Nate (having just been in the general direction of the receiving end of the sound of a shotgun blast from their own exclusive territory)... and all admire Richard's bird... but, the truck is still axle deep.  And, as Paul Harvey says, "For the rest of the story...".

Regardless, this marks the end of a fantastic season with bird # 25, the exact prediction of Jimmy Barnes.

May 1 - Turkey # 24 - David Neblett -This morning David got his first ever "call in by himself" bird.  Don't know the details, only that Jimmy Barnes called in the news.  I'm sure David will read this and e-mail his story.DavidNeblett2


April 28 - Turkey # 23 - Ned Priest - Wednesday morning was perfect... temperature in the 50's... high pressure... clear skies... plenty of stars visible at 5 AM... so quiet you could hear your own heart beat... etc... Ned, Richard, Nate, Nate's guest Cham and ??? were each in pursuit of a lonely Tom.  Ned found a likely candidate who then proceeded to  out-maneuver him, out-flank him, and generally kept Ned confused about his position.  Finally, at the moment of truth, Ned saw his head for the first time and blasted him.   Whoops!  The big talking crafty old bird turned out to be smart young one - a Jake!  I am reminded of a quote from Fox Haas, the father of Mossy Oak's Toxey Haas, who after bringing home a loud talking Jake, said something like, "If he talks like a man, he can die like a man".

Regardless, this is bird # 23 and presented an excellent hunting challenge.  Nice job!  And, there are 12 more days of turkey hunting season .  No doubt this year will set a standard which will be hard to match.

April 26 - Turkeys # 21 & 22 - Ned Priest & Skip Neblett - Early Sunday morning, Ned went up the point beside the intern's cabin.  With multiple gobblers talking, Ned  picked one and set up on him.  No problem communicating as each yelp produced a response.  However, the turkey would not get any closer and eventually wandered away.  Ned moved several times and ultimately found another spot to talk with him.  Again, no movement.  So, Ned used the Jimmy Barnes "A-B" trick, meaning after talking too much from position A, he quietly moved away 25 - 30 yards to position B, called as though he was no longer interested... and, the Tom came running...a great hunt for Ned and his 19 pound 10 oz. prize sporting a well worn 5" beard and 7/8" spurs.  Time of day - 8:33 AM.

Later that morning, Skip found another turkey in the North Country.  His was a 3 year old, 15 1/2 pound, 9" beard with 7/8" spurs.  I originally thought this was the first time any hunter at Heart's Desire had taken the full allotment of birds.  My information was not correct.  Skip has only killed one himself this year.

I had asked for a more accurate story.  In his own words, here's what actually happened:

"Sunday morning started out better than Saturday for me. At least I didn’t lock my keys in the truck and have to call the locksmith before daylight. When I left my truck it started to shower: I stopped to put on my rain jacket and thought: “ Here we go again.” Saturday in the rain had been very unproductive. Almost no turkey noises hunting the same area as today.

I walked quickly to my listening post on the ridge. About 6:02 I heard a gobble to the northwest. I waited. Repeat gobble in a couple of minutes. Sounded like it was about 10 miles away but there were no competing gobbles so I headed in that direction. When I reached the next finger ridge, it was quiet. I decided to walk out on the ridge to sit and start to call. As soon as I sat down the bird gobbled and I realized he wasn’t that far. He was just low on the ridge, almost down in the hollow. He was gobbling every few minutes and moving away now. I realized I probably couldn’t call him from where I was and got up to move toward him. Unfortunately the new growth in a previous poison area was so thick I had to go around it and by the time I reached my place to intersect the bird, he was dead silent.

After a little meditation, I decided on a plan of setting up to call along the old road bed leading up the ridge and away from the noise of the swollen creek. I wanted to end up by 9:30 on the ridge overlooking the donut field where I had heard a bird calling midmorning on a previous day. I called off and on for 45 minutes without any response. It was now about 8 o’clock and time to move to a new spot.

I crept down the road about 200 yards and climbed a deer trail up the ridge and set up against a big tree in fairly open woods with just a little green underbrush in front of my position. I really had no idea from which direction he might come. After a couple of calling sequences, I found the tree pretty comfortable when my butt pad and back pad were positioned well. I woke to the gobble at 8:30 and wasn’t sure exactly where it came from but knew it wasn’t too close. I sat tight and he sounded off again in just about a minute. He sounded like a good bird but it didn’t really matter as it was the first midmorning gobbler I had heard in three hunts. He was high on a ridge and two ridges over but the topography made me think he would hear my calls well and there were no significant impediments to his walking to me and so I started to call. He seemed to respond and actually seemed to be coming closer and then it was clear that he was gobbling and strutting and not really coming and I needed to move toward him.

I moved to the next ridge and set up again in very open woods and close to the road where I had started. I called and he gobbled and he steadily moved in my direction but further up the ridge. He would come in my direction and gobble and I thought it was just a matter of time and he would be coming down the road to find the hen. However he had different ideas and kept a stubborn strutting path up and down the ridge in the place where the road isn’t too steep. After a while I stopped calling hoping that would make him come. No such luck. He was gobbling every 60 to 75 seconds and I was entertained but making no progress with this guy.

I decided I needed to try to sneak closer when he strutted away and I left my pack and tortoise call at the tree and scooted up the ridge about 125 yards. After sitting down against a tree and planning the shot with his next pass down the road, his next gobble is well to my left, almost behind me. He’s walked up and around onto the top of the next ridge over and is close enough that I’m worried about bumping if I move toward him. When I did move up the ridge a few yards, there’s a conspicuous silence and I’m ready to kick myself when I hear the commotion of a heavy bird and flapping of wings. Something is different than the usual sounds of a tom leaving the scene and I realize he’s called up a hen and is busy with procreative activities at the moment. Fortunately I can’t quite see the honeymoon and hopefully he can’t see me.

My next move is to head down the ridge, collect my gear and at the bottom and to get back over to the ridge that he is now on which is the place that this encounter had started for me. After making that hike, I’m rewarded by a thunderous gobble about 200 hundred yards up the ridge as I set up by yet another large tree. By this time I have no intention of letting him know I’m here. I have nothing but ambush on my mind having already had my best hen noises spurned by this guy for well over an hour. I’m keenly aware he has proven his ability to call the hen to him (in the not too distant past).

He begins his routine again - gobbling every 60 seconds – and my heart begins to race again as he seems to be coming down the ridge towards my position. Unfortunately I realize after just a few minutes that he’s back in that aggravating strut pattern of the previous ridge: deja vu all over again. I don’t have any more bright ideas so I decide to go back to the basics. I let out a couple of sequences of soft yelps with my favorite Primos diaphragm. They sound good to me and he immediately answers. I’m back in the game!

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