At 5AM last Wednesday, we were in our blind, set up the previous evening for the rain which was now upon us. We had located the blind at the bottom of a small field, which sloped upward 100 yards to a planted pine farm of 30 year old trees. A neighboring field to our left was separated from ours by a finger of brush filled ravine with some deer trails running through it. Lee showing off his new blue eye liner and Tiff doing her best to look seductive were up hill at about 30 yards. We had a clean view of both fields. Around 8AM three hens showed up traveling in our direction. I gave them some cuts and yelps on my 1930 trumpet and they picked up the pace. When they neared the hen decoy I poured on some loud aggressive purrs with a slate. That did it, two of them laid into Tiff with a vengeance sending her spinning on her stake while they danced around, cutting and purring with tails fanned, and getting their licks in every time the decoy stopped spinning. My friend said "Take a few pictures". I replied "Pictures? I have my phone on video!". After a few minutes the hens tired and continued up hill and into the pines. The video turned out to be slightly out of focus, but the audio is incredible.
By 10AM the rain had stopped. My friend, Ed, saw a gobbler sneaking into our field out of the pines. Having looked over the decoys, the bird was cautious, and hung up about seventy yards, a few yelps on the trumpet did not bringing him any closer. After much discussion we decided to let him walk, his behavior telling us there must be something better in the area. A few minutes later our decision proved correct. At the top of the field on the left appeared a strutter being tolled along by one hen. I challenged him with a gobble from my Roger Parks long box and he shot right back. They both disappeared into the brush separating our two fields. One more challenge gobble and I could tell he was at the bottom of the ravine. Around the same time his hen appeared on our side. I cut and yelped on the 1930, and she started down hill toward the decoys, targeting Tiff in her jealous eyes. The first gobbler was still standing in the same place, where he had hung up, as the strutter exited the brush. This strutter was not going to tolerate a jake with dominant colors so close to what would be an addition to his harem. Down the hill they came, hen, strutter and the cautious gobbler who now had strength in numbers bringing up the rear. Upon reaching the decoys, the hen simply pounded Tiff, while the strutter worked over Lee with a good flogging of wings and spurs. What a sight! The cautious gobbler stayed out of the fight, standing to the right of the battle. Nothing like two old guys trying to coordinate a double in the midst of this excitement. The strutter had turned his attention to the hen decoy when we decided to get the job done. A loud shout of "Good morning!", brought the strutter half out of strut and made the other bird stand taller. The hammers went down! Both birds were two years old with similar beards, spurs and weight. Apparently the dominant bird had an attitude and just kicked butt.
Hens confronting the decoy
Gobblers and "Friends"
Two Happy Guys