Illinois hunting and fishing

Turkey Tales: Toms revenge

April 06, 2009 at 05:14 AM

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Here in the words of Brad Crisco of Elmwood is the story of his hunt for a unique gobbler in Knox County.

It was Saturday, April 27, 2007 and the third season of turkey season in Illinois’ North Zone. The sunrise was beautiful and I had placed myself in a draw connected to a larger piece of timber with a jake decoy out in front of me to the east at about 15 yards. 

At around 6:30 a.m. I heard a gobble from the ag field behind me. So I belly crawled to the west side of the draw and set up to see a strutting tom about 100 yards out. 

After calling to him for 10 minutes and drawing him to within 70-80 yards, he got bored and went back into the connected timber to the south. I chose to crawl back to my original post, facing the east. 

About five minutes later I see what appeared to be three hens and two toms working to the northeast about 300 yards out. I began calling to them with some yelps, but to no avail. I pulled out my gobble call, which turned all five in my direction. They continued to work straight west to a point about 75 yards south of my decoy. As they approached the edge of the draw I could see that the “hens” were jakes. 

About this time, a larger tom came out of the adjoining timber and started chasing the two toms. The “boss” tom then turned his attention to my jake and came at a sprint until he got to within 5 yards, when he must have realized that my deke was a fake. 

I can only imagine this as the last thought to go through his head before I pulled the trigger. This, however, is when I witnessed something that I had never seen before. The two previous toms, seeing the “boss” down, came at a sprint to investigate and began pecking and spurring at the downed bird. Had I had another permit, I would have had another 20+ pound bird to carry out. 

As it was, I had to scare the toms off before they did much damage, and even then they only ran off about 75 yards. They must have really had some bad feelings toward this old bird. 

My tom weighed 26 pounds, had an 11.5-inch beard and 1¼-inch spurs. 

It was a very good season as I had witnessed all of this before 7:10 the first morning I had been in the field.

Who knows, maybe this Spring I’ll run into one of the bullied toms. 

The attached picture shows what I have been told is a genetic oddity with the coloring of his middle tail feathers.

Illinois hunting and fishing