Quest for 450: 443 Falls in Tennessee


After scoring a double with his host, Spook Spann, Mike Pentecost and Spook headed out the next day in search of Mike’s 443rd bird. They quickly located five gobblers in a field, determined the direction they were heading and set up ahead of them in a spot where a tree line ran up to the pond.


“Spook knows his turkeys and his hunting areas and woods,” said Mike. “Spook is known for his big deer and big-game hunting, but I have to admit, I was impressed with his passion for turkey hunting. It’s always fun to hunt with guys that love turkey hunting as much as I do.”


After setting up, the group began calling, but the afternoon action was slow. Hens and jakes would filter through the area, but the hunters never saw those earlier gobblers, nor did they hear any gobbling. The terrain was pretty open, so with cameras and cameramen in tow, the group had to keep movement to a minimum. That meant sitting and waiting remained a better strategy than running and gunning.


“Spook was confident with our setup and was convinced it would pay off if we just stayed there, called and tried to get something interested in our calling,” Mike said. He mixed the calls up between a RedWing mouth call and a crystal friction call to add a variety of pitches and tones in the hope one of them would fire up a tom.


“As the afternoon turned to early evening, I heard a faint gobble far to our left. I asked Spook and Terry if they heard that. ‘No,’ they replied. They looked at me funny as if I was imagining thing,” said Mike. The hunter was soon vindicated, however, as he called again and was answered by another gobble—one that everyone heard.


“It was game on," said Mike. Soon two longbeards, one strutting, appeared down the field edge. “We began to put the soft calling and coaxing on him as he approached. He was looking hard for that hen calling to him.”


The stutter slipped into the edge of the woods as it approached, but then emerged and strolled right into the decoys set up 20 steps away from Mike. The gobbler strutted right up to the jake decoy and began to posture, when Mike’s cameraman gave him the thumbs up to shoot.


“Bang and down went 443 in Tennessee,” said Mike. Both Tennessee birds were good 3-year-old toms.


 


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