-By Rich Miller
Well it wasn’t opening day but it was going to be the first hunt of the year. Every year a good buddy of mine Robert Colcolough and I head down to Barnwell, SC for the season opener of turkey season. The southern half of the state opens 15 days earlier than it does here, so we always try and get a head start on the season. This year the season opened on a Sunday and we were unable to make it on the opener. The way our schedules were working out we were only going to be able to hunt on Friday. Since we were going to be so short on time we decided to fly down on Thursday afternoon. Robert and his brother-in-law own a Cessna 172 airplane, which saves us about two and a half-hours drive time each way. The weather worked out for us and we arrived in Barnwell around 5:00 Thursday afternoon.
Once we arrived at the house and got our gear unpacked it was time to find out where some turkeys were roosting. We were running a little ahead of schedule so we went by one of the food plots to change memory cards in one of Robert’s cameras. When we got out of the golf cart I hit the owl hooter and we heard a bird gobble in a clear cut about a hundred yards off. After blowing the owl hooter a few more times there ended up being two birds gobbling in the clear cut. Once we left those birds we headed to a hill where we always hear birds. By the time we headed back to the house we had found two more birds roosted on the hill. To say that we were feeling good about the next morning’s hunt after having roosted four different birds was an understatement.
The next morning we decided to start out at the hill first thing. We figured we would have the best shot at this bird and if it didn’t work out, we would be able to hear all of the other birds just in case we needed to go after them. While we were walking up the hill trying to decide where to set up, this bird was gobbling his head off. There was a food plot within a hundred yards of him so I crawled out there and set up my turkey decoys. This turkey seemed like he was gobbling about every thirty seconds. I didn’t start calling to him right away. I waited until I heard some of the hens with him start calling. Once these hens got cranked up I started calling back to them and it wasn’t long until the gobbler was going out of his mind, and then another one started gobbling behind us. I started hearing turkeys flying down from the roost so I gave a few fly-down cackles and two hens landed in the food plot in front of us. These hens fed around the decoys a few minutes and then walked out of the food plot. A few minutes after they left a long beard ran across the food plot about forty yards away from us following those hens. He acted like he was spooked and wouldn’t slow down for anything. As I was trying to figure out what was going on I caught more movement coming through the food plot and it was two more hens. Coming up the rear behind the hens was a white-headed gobbler in full strut. Behind him was another gobbler but he wasn’t strutting, he was headed across the food plot toward where the first gobbler went. About the time the strutter got in front of my gun barrel the other gobbler came back in the food plot within range also. I asked Robert if he had a shot, he said he did and I said on three. One, two, three, and if you would have been a spectator you would have only heard one shot but there were two bird laying in the food plot.
After the high fives and pictures it was 7:45 am and time for breakfast. After breakfast and getting the turkeys taken care of we got packed up and headed back to the airport. We had turned what was usually a weekend trip into an overnighter and it turned out to be very successful. By the way all of the new toys I couldn’t wait to try in the turkey woods last week worked as good as I hoped they would.