Henned-Up Gobblers For Georgia Opener
The anticipation of a new turkey season is a special time, but due to the fact that I knew I would be at work instead of in the woods made last week almost unbearable.
I spent most of the weekend reflecting on my trip with friends to Florida last weekend. Special memories were made, and longtime friend Jeff Langle and his brother Brian with Turkey Trek Outfitters provided yet another superior Osceola experience. They always do! They’ve got the birds, and I certainly did my part while there to make sure there were some left.
I also did laps around the map of my local hunting grounds as I tried to narrow down my choice for my Georgia opener on Monday. After missing Georgia’s opening weekend, for me, it’ll be two full days in the turkey woods before heading back to work on Wednesday.
I bided my time this weekend by keeping a close check on some friends as they got the season rolling.
Jonathan Barber, of Liberty County, scored yesterday afternoon when he interrupted our texting with a “timeout,” so he could slap a beautiful 3-year-old upside the head with a load of 5s. He had just told me that he had set up in an area that he felt was a travel route the birds were using to get back to the roost in the evenings. Great scouting there, buddy!
He also said the wind was picking up, and I told him to hang tough. Ten minutes later, he had a bird flopping. He was using a pretty low-key approach to begin with but started mixing in a few sharp, short cutts. That’s when the bird showed up.
Jonathan credited divine intervention with getting the bird the last few yards into gun range. When the bird first showed, he was easing through the woods and appeared to be easing off, until the wind gave his jake decoy a nudge. When the bird saw him move, he strutted into killing range. Video below.
I would have to say the highlight of my weekend came around 7:15 yesterday evening when I started getting pictures and texts from my younger brother, Walter. He busted his first turkey ever, and I couldn’t be happier if I killed it myself. Well, maybe I could, just a little. Just kidding, Bro.
Another thing that made it even more special was the fact that his son, Walt, who has become quite the turkey hunter himself, did the calling. Soft calling got the bird’s attention, and when Walt pulled him out of the pines and into sight of the decoys, it was all over. A 29-yard chip-shot with the Ultimate-mag topped with the Jebs choke sealed the deal. Great job, Walt. Pretty awesome to call up your dad’s first bird.
The bird was an awesome 4-year old with 1 5/16-inch sharp hooks, an 11 1/2-inch beard and weighed in at 20.4 pounds. I can’t say enough about just how proud I am of this particular father-son team and the job they did during the turkey opener.
Most of what I gathered from more friends was an echo of events across the state. Pretty good gobbling until fly down, and then the hens covered them up. So much for all those, “The season’s gonna be over before it starts” predictions.
About The Author: GON freelance writer Donald Devereaux Jarrett has been with GON since 2003 and is currently on the following pro staffs: JEBS Chokes, Mossy Oak, Conyers Outdoors, South Dakota Hunting Service and Denver Deer Scents. If you’d like to talk turkey with Donald, you can reach him through his Facebook page or through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.