Quest for 450: Death in the Afternoon

After celebrating Mike's 446th career wild turkey, Mark Scroggins, Terry Sullivan and Mike all agreed to not slow down.The men drove to a nearby high spot to glass and maybe spot some birds and there were two strutters on the edge of a field less than a mile away. The men used the terrain to hide their approach and moved in close enough to try and get them interested.


“It worked like a charm,” said Mike. “We got all the way to where we wanted to and called and the birds answered in response.”


In fact, there was more than just the two strutters. There was an entire flock including hens and jakes. Mike and Mark called and the birds all answered.


“It was game on,” said Mike.


The main strutter broke away from the pack and came walking right toward the sound of the calls. The big gobbler strolled inside the 30-yard mark and Mark, who was running the camera, told Mike to go ahead and shoot. Mike hesitated for just a second simply because he was enjoying watching the longbeard strut in when he heard Mark whisper, “kill him,” again. Mike pulled the trigger and down went 447. Barely three hours after killing his first Rio of the season, Mike had his second, and a hunt that had began with challenges was suddenly working in his favor.


Mike Pentecost Turkey Number 447“Despite a fantastic day, it was still early so we figured we better go ahead and get after another one,” Mike said. Mike was tagged out for the day in Oklahoma, so the group decided to head to the Texas side of Danny Pierce’s hunting operation.


The men checked a couple of spots before heading to an area Danny had suggested that had groves of oak trees intersecting with a small road bed crossing.


“We got out and got our gear ready about three quarters of a mile from that area, we were walking and calling and almost immediately got a response,” said Mike. “It seemed like it was at that T area.”


It didn’t take long to realize the men were dealing with an entire flock of turkeys, as they also heard hen yelps and the deep yawk, yawk yelp of jakes. The group had crossed over into a field to the south, but the hunters decided to hit the intersection where they had first heard the birds in hopes that they would come back through the area as the evening wore toward roosting time.


“This was our best move yet!” said Mike. As the men eased into the area, Mike spotted movement about 60 yards away. It was a hen feeding their way.


“I immediately hit the ground and motioned for the camera guys to do the same. We set up right there and right then,” said Mike. “Turkeys were coming back our way!” The flock was coming back to see what was making the calls Mike had thrown out. First he spotted more hens and a few jakes, then finally, a gobbler bringing up the rear.


Mike bird number 448“The sun was descending in the West and he was illuminated by the sun hitting his tail fan as he strutted toward us,” Mike recalled. “We gave some soft coaxing calls and he couldn't stand it. He began to come a little faster in anticipation of meeting what he thought was another hen." The tom stopped and strutted at 30 yards, but as Mike waited for the go-ahead from Terry to shoot, the gobbler did something unexpected.


“He broke out in an all out run toward my location where I was soft calling with clucks, purrs and soft yelps. He nearly ran me over,” explained Mike. The tom was a mere 15 steps away when Terry, with the camera running, said, “kill him!”  And he did.


Down went 448 in Texas. Time of death: 7 p.m. In one day, Mike had taken three birds toward his goal. Only two more to go!


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