Quest for 450: 444 Goes Down in Bama

Mike Pentecost had been taking care of some business and hunting out of his public-land turkey camp that he enjoys with a group of friends every year when cameraman Terry Sullivan made it back in town and started following Mike with the camera. On Terry’s first day back, the two of them checked out a piece of National Forest that had been recently burned in a prescribed condition. In fact, it was so recent; some stumps were still smoking and burning.

These can be great areas to hunt as turkeys will actually follow behind the flames to eat the insects that rise to the ground after the flames pass. Mike and Terry struck out on some gobblers in the morning returning to the area that afternoon, but only called in a hen. However, as darkness neared, Mike thought he heard a faint gobble off to the west. He waited a few minutes and then hit an owl hooter, and as luck would have it, the turkey hammered back with a gobble. The bird was high in its roost and Mike was able to pinpoint the bird. He knew where his hunt was going to begin the next morning.

Mike Pentecost with Turkey Number 444 from Alabama









That next morning, the two men slipped into the area before daylight and set up along a fresh-plowed fire lane with the burn on one side and unburned forest on the other. It created a great edge along which to work a gobbler. As the sun began to rise, the tom gobbled on cue.

“The gobbles were slow at first, but then we got him cranked up. Both Terry and I began calling, each of us playing of the other’s calls, and built the intensity to make it sound like a group of hens getting together,” said Mike.

As the gobbler approached, Mike noticed how loud the sound of its drumming was.

“It got really loud,” he said. The turkey stepped out into the road about 40 yards to their right. With a few coaxing calls, the tom spotted the decoy out in the cleared area and began his “death march” as Mike calls it right toward the fake turkey.

“Terry whispered to me to let the gobbler get to the decoy. I'm not used to hunting with decoys as I’m from Alabama where they were just recently made legal. I also hunt public ground. Here, you’d better kill him as soon as you have the chance or you’re going to mess up. Hunting with this camera has forced a big change in my style of hunting,” admited Mike.

The gobbler strutted right up to the decoy and as soon as Mike got the signal to shoot from Terry, he pulled the trigger and Number 444 was in the bag. It was still early—only 6:30 a.m. The turkey had 1-inch spurs and a 10 ½-inch beard.

“I love it when the plan comes together and the gobblers read the script!” said Mike.  

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