Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Lowcountry hunter takes turkey in stormy conditions

Trad Dyches and his trophy tom after a stormy hunt
On April 4th Trad Dyches headed into a 250-acre parcel of land in Colleton County. He had hunted the same area two weeks prior in the afternoon, and saw two birds strutting in a field. Dyches ended up calling one tom out of the field and killed him at 6:45 pm.  This wasnt the dominant bird out of the pair, but still a very nice longbeard. So on April 4th Dyches knew right where he wanted to start. At 4:15 he started walking slowly, sneaking back towards that same field, which is just across a railroad track. Just then a train horn sounds off in the distance .....GOBBLE !!  Dyches began crawling on his hands and knees how a cautious hunter will when he knows a smart bird is near. His buddy Donnie Skinner told him he had hunted this same tom earlier. He made his first call at about 4:50 with the bird 200-yards down the field. He sat ready for an hour thinking the tom would come over, but after hearing nothing for an hour, he decided about 5:55 to make an aggressive cutt call one time and see what happened and that tom cut him off with a roaring GOBBLE !  After ten minutes the sky went from sunny and blue, changing over to pure black like it was dark, while thunder sounded off in the distance and the turkey became invigorated and gobbled and gobbled and gobbled. The wind picked up to about 40 mph and the oak trees began to sway and Dyches got into a prone position while the storm moved in, and at 6:15 it began to pour rain. The rain let up a little ten minutes later and the lighting and thunder began to pass. Dyches called softly to reassure the tom. Knowing that time was short and that the bird was hot, Dyches grabbed a hen decoy out of his vest and a gobble tube. With his hand shaking, he stuck the hen up to the left of the tree he was laying beside and let it rip on the gobble tube one time.  The gobbler that had begun drifting away into the field, turned around, looked at the hen decoy and gobbled a full-throated GOBBLE, a call of the wild that surely shook loose any spanish moss that had not been blown out of the oaks by the passing thunderstorm. Dyches' reports seeing the gobbler's head changing from baby blue to snowball white as the bird closed  to about 60-yards, shock gobbling all the way. The gobbler started running in with his snowball white head positioned down low and Dyches barely had time to set the gobble tube down when the bird was 20-yards away. Clucking with his mouth call to stop the tom at about 15 yards, the gobbler stuck his head up, allowing Dyches to harvest his trophy tom.  He immediately stood up, now soaking wet, and walked 15-steps and stood over the bird and said out loud that this was the best hunt he has ever had! The tom was a nice 3.5 or 4-year old bird and Dyches couldn't believe he had outsmarted this bird. He said to himself, OH MY GOSH, OH MY GOSH, about fifty times while standing over the boss gobbler. Then he called his buddy Donnie in the light rain and told him that he shot the smart tom and that it was such a special hunt that it left him with a deep feeling of appreciation.  Dyches shares that the lesson he learned during this hunt is that on some days, dominance is more important to gobblers than getting the hen. Congrats!
To view past blog entries about turkey hunting stories click here.

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