Quest for 450: Bird Number 445 Closes Out Alabama

The next day after taking his fifth bird of the season and 444th of his lifetime, Mike Pentecost and cameraman Terry Sullivan were back at it in the public woods of Alabama. The morning began at the same spot where they had successfully hunted the day before, but nothing was heard—something a lot of us hunters on pressured areas can relate to.

The next spot they checked proved to be a little better as they heard gobbles as soon as they stepped out of the truck. Hearing one bird in the distance, they started to head that way, but before blundering into the tom, Mike decided to hit his Real Hen cherry box call to double check its location.

“I yelped one series and nothing,” said Mike. “I hit the box again and—GOBBLE, GOBBLE—two birds hammered just off to our left and the distant bird we were trying to originally strike up gobbled too.

“The birds to our left were actually too close to work as we didn’t have time to get the camera set up, so we basically had to hunker down as they gobbled and moved around us looking for the crazy hen that was making all the noise and fuss. If I hadn’t had to worry about the camera, that would’ve been a quick and easy hunt.”

The two gobblers eventually slipped back off into a nearby creek bottom, so Mike and Terry moved around on them and set up properly.

“I called and they gobbled and then gobbled again. They were definitely coming back toward us,” Mike said. “This was going to be a quick hunt!”

Three hours later, he finally pulled the trigger.

“Those two gobblers had come back to the other side of a thicket from us and settled into a comfortable strut zone where they just gobbled and strutted back and forth,” Mike laughed. “Every now and then the best gobbler would be visible through the brush, but it wasn’t a good shot, so I had to wait until he finally eased into the open. That hunt definitely took some persistence.”

While both birds had long beards, a hunter always wants to shoot the dominant bird if possible, as this can open the woods up to more gobbling by birds intimidated by this dominant bird. In this hunt, the subordinate tom actually appeared first, but Mike held off, confident the other one would slip out the same way. When he stepped into the open, Mike shot. Bird Number 445 was down. In the end, the gobbler got the chance to ride home in a pine box called the Gobbler Coffin.

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