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Alabama turkey hunter Chance Dunn shared this story about his “love-hate” relationship with a wild turkey he bagged after years of hunting it. Here’s his recollection from the April 19, 2017 hunt in Walker County, Ala.
By Chance Dunn
I’ll start by saying how grateful I am to finally harvest this bird.
Me and this ol’ brute have been around and around over the past few years. I have learned more about turkey hunting from this bird than all the others combined and he had learned about me just as well.
As happy as I am that I can look at my mantle and think about all the memories me and his ol’ guy have had — the miles walked/ran, the close calls, the times he spooked me as much as I spooked him — I still can’t help but feel a hint of sadness knowing that our love-hate relationship has come to a close, but the memories will last a lifetime. — Turkey hunter Chance Dunn
It all started in the same area as always, but not the same scenario. I got to my vantage point to make a locater call and I just so happen to look down the draw and noticed a black dot moving back and forth about 200 yards away.
I pulled out my binoculars to take a look, and sure enough it was him.
Now as long as I’ve been hunting this bird I’ve never known to come off roost any time before 7:30 a.m., and here it is 6:28 a.m., 15 min after daylight, and he is already on the ground strutting.
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I thought for sure he was henned up but against my better judgment I decided to try him anyways.
I grabbed an old slate that I rarely ever use, made a soft call just to see what he would do and to my surprise he let one ring, So I rushed down the hill to set up and elected not to use my decoy for the first time, seeing how he could probably tell what brand it is.
After playing with each other’s feelings for around an hour, he finally come in to around 80 yards and although he was putting on quite a show, I could still see the uncertainty and he sturted right on past me.
After he got almost 100 yards in that direction, it’s like a switch flipped on and he started to panic and let out a triple gobble, then a double about 10 seconds later.
Seeing how I hardly ever heard this bird gobble at all after he hit the ground, I figured I better capitalize and hit him with some pretty aggressive cuts on my old woodhaven mouth call and that sealed the deal.
He did a 180 and made a B-line right back to me, and my heart sank as he made it in all the way to 12 yards and hung up behind a hickory bush.
I decided to make the softest call I could and when I did he stepped out from behind that bush at about 8 yards and let one ring so loud it vibrated my clothes.
He then lifted that old head up to listen for a call back, and with mixed emotions from excitement, panic, happiness, and sadness, I let the Mossberg ring and brought mine and the old man’s love-hate relationship to a close.