2nd Chance of the Railroad Tunnel Birdby Bill Adametz
This would be our second stop of the morning. We had hunted a bird off the roost at first light, but were unable to get the tom to leave the hens that he had flown down with, so we regrouped and headed to a second area.
When we got there Matt, Lefty, and I headed up the small stream towards an old railroad tunnel that gave us access to the back side of the farm that I had gotten permission to film on. Matt got close to the entrance and stopped to take a few pictures, this is really a great way to get in and out of this area without letting anything know we were coming.
The author and the Railroad Tunnel Bird.
Photo by: Author
The stream was not flowing very fast so we made our way upstream without going for a early morning swim, so far so good. The back side of the farm is situated in a valley that the stream passes thru, which is a great way to gain access but most of the birds are up on top of the hills so away we went. Matt was on one camera, Lefty on the other and I was carrying my Remington 870.
About halfway up the hill we stopped to try a call and see if any birds were around.
Was that a bird? A quick conference between the three of us and we decided that Lefty would stay halfway up the hill and Matt and I would go almost to the top and see if we could get a better fix on the bird.
Just before we reached the top we came to a pasture that had a fairly big brush pile about twenty feet into it so we belly crawled to the pile got into position and Matt did his magic on his Quaker Boy mouth call. Inside the edge of the field about 150 yards away, the gobbler answered. I scrunched up a bit so that only my head and gun barrel were sticking out of the brush. Matt got the camera set and called again softly. Again the bird answered from the edge of the field but seemed to be a little further away.
We stayed quiet for a few minutes then Matt clucked and purred on his call and the bird answered but stayed on the tree line on the opposite corner from us and would not come in.
We decided to push our luck and move in on this bird, it was our first time hunting this farm and we thought that by sneaking near the opposite corner of the field along a stone wall and setting up we could get this bird to travel down the edge of the woods and get a shot at him.
We put on a sneak and got into position near the stone wall that borders the forest edge and the pasture and called. The bird answered but from about 200 yards farther into the woods. We both looked at each other and knew that we had blown it. We packed up our gear and moved into the edge of the woods to look and try a few calls to see if we still had a chance.
Once inside the woods we saw a tote road that the farmer used for hauling wood on and knew the gig was up.
We sat down and talked about how we had blown this chance. We did not know the terrain as well as we should have and we should have had a decoy in the field so that when lover boy looked out into the field he would see or think he saw the hen that was making all those very seductive calls. We also probably should have stayed put and tried to wait him out. He was moving back and forth about 150 yards out, but was not getting any further away. We were too aggressive.
We were very quiet sneaking thru the tunnel which made it hard for the birds to pick us up but when slogging up the hill to the far end of the farm, we made noise. Well, we live and learn. Matt and Lefty dropped me off at my house and I thought about what I should do to try and get another shot with this bird.
I woke up two hours before sunrise the next morning, thought about where to go and decided to try the farm again but decided to get into position before the sun even thought about coming over the horizon.
I parked my truck on the dirt road, snuck back thru the tunnel and got up to the edge of the pasture with 45 minutes to spare before the sun rose.
I owl hooted to see if anybody was in the area. And got a response right down the top of the ridge from where I was sitting. So I sat quietly and waited for the sound of the birds flying down.