Quest for 450: Return to Big Sky

Using the knowledge of the terrain and where the birds flew down after roosting from his failed hunt the day before, Mike Pentecost returns to the scene of the crime with the intention of starting at the road bed first where the birds had strutted around.

But this morning, there are actually more turkeys gobbling to the East. As indecision hits the crew, so does sickness. Terry winds up doubled over on the ground in pain.

“He was sick as a dog,” says Mike. As Terry lies there, the gobblers temporarily shut up, but the silence doesn’t last long as hens and jakes start to carry on. Terry took a moment to regroup and then the men head in the direction of the last gobble they heard.

“I immediately headed toward that last gobble and got into what I thought was a good place to call to the turkey and let out some yelps,” says Mike. “BINGO. I was right on the spot as nearby hens cut me off in the middle of my calling.”

A sick Terry quickly gets busy setting up his camera, and Mike set out a couple of decoys, and it wasn’t long before turkeys were strolling into view. This hunt was going much differently than the day before.

Using a fall turkey hunters trick, Mike used a Woodhaven Magic Crystal friction call to match a couple of the hens tone for tone and call for call, mixing in a few deeper jake yelps here and there. The hens and jakes are quickly in front of them when a gobbler with a longbeard runs in. However, Mike holds off because this gobbler isn’t strutting, gobbling or showing any other signs of being a dominant gobbler, and Mike knows one is there.

Sure enough, a few minutes later, Mike spies two big fans coming into view and heading his way. A jake is with them and comes running right in to the decoys with the gobblers in tow. The flock splits with some heading down an old roadbed and others angling back toward the gobblers. Mike tosses out more calls and one of the gobblers suddenly begins trying to herd the flock back together and walks right into range in front of Mike.

“He shouldn’ta oughta done that,” Mike thinks to himself.

“Kill him” Terry clearly says to avoid the confusion of the previous day. Mike’s Benelli barks and Number 449 is now down in the history books. Mike shot him at just 27 steps away at 7 in the morning. He’s now one bird away from his goal and 10 birds deep into what is a great spring season by any hunter’s standards.

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