Article by: James Brennan
One of my favorite animals to hunt is the turkey and here in Montana by my house it is big mountains and vast timber. These hearty bird last through deep snow, long winters and cold wet springs not to mention predators year round. Extensive scouting and a lot of miles put on the truck or foot wear has me locating several groups of birds. I find where these big ranches keep their live stock or horses and usually you will find birds wintering. Opening morning it was the usual here in the mountains. Snow and cold weather greeted me in the blind. Armed again with my decoys, archery tackle and wearing my HECS outfit I set up on some forest ground. At first light the sound of gobbling mountain chickens echoed across the basin. I knew that I was in the right spot but also knew it would be a while before these birds made it over on my side of the timber. Occasional calling just to let the hens no where my ambush was located at and the wait continued. By 9 am I started to feel the cold of the damp 25 degree morning but was soon warmed by the sound of several birds sounded off answering the hens who were on their way. I used my moving tail fan on the decoy to entice the flock closer. Once the mature Toms in the group saw my intruder they could not resist coming over to run him off. Again my decoys were set up close less than 10 yards. One hen and one strutting Tom made up the spread. This proved to be too much for one particular long beard. He ambled into my range of my top pin and strutted and displayed for the last time. I shot him at less than 4 steps and he stumbled back over to where the decoys were and expired. At that time the rest of the flock ran in and began pecking and attacking my dead bird. I was still in the blind and for the next 20 minutes I witnessed several more long beards and jakes mill around me and had no idea I was there. I can only attribute this to the HECS again and even as I exited the blind the birds walked off and never did fly to escape my threat. I was able to snap some still photos of these birds right before and after I took my bird.
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