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A good or bad outing … that all depends

By Shirley Grenoble

sports@altoonamirror.com

How did your spring gobbler season go this Year? My reports from hunters far and wide indicate it was a mixed bag.

My friend, Joanie Haidle, and I traveled to Missouri to hunt and ran into the same complaints from hunters there that we have had in Pennsylvania for the last three years.

“The birds are hardly gobbling,” many hunters said. “You better get him right at dawn or then wait until 11 a.m. because that is the only time they gobble. That was exactly how it went on our first couple days.

A landowner had allowed us to hunt on his expansive spread of land and on the first morning there, Joanie and I both heard gobblers. She, being over 25 years younger than me, took off and found a great place. I didn’t follow her, but settled myself in and waited out the morning with not a sight of the birds.

Next morning, I had one of the more exciting days I’ve had in the last few years. Joanie regaled me with the description of the spot she had found, and the gobbler we heard the second morning there … we headed for it.

It was not easy to get to I can tell you. Up hill, over dale and crossing a couple creeks, we arrived at the spot. I picked out where I would set up and call, and Joanie took off for her place that she chose.

After a couple of hours of intermittent calling, and seeing another tree just on the other side of the path that had a tree, something told me there would be a better setup spot than where I was.

But reluctant to make that move, I stayed put. In another half hour, I got a couple of answers from two gobblers that had crept quietly in right behind me. Their gobbles startled me.

I dared not move then, and got as ready as I could for a possible shot, but the birds made a turn, and walked away. Then they crossed the read where I could not see them and circled in front of me in very thick brush and disappeared.

I kept up a lively barrage of calling and they answered lustily, but they had spotted me and there was no way were they going to turn back my way.

After a bit I heard Joanie shoot. I do not know if it was one of those gobblers she got or if it was another one that was coming to check out all the wild gobbling that was going on in that flat. But she had a gorgeous 24-pounder, the first gobbler she had ever taken outside the state of Pennsylvania.

Our next few days were silent as could be. Then bad weather set in so we decided to come home and see what was happening here. We went to my favorite place in Blair County and we hit the jackpot — as far as gobbling goes. From dawn until noon, they talked and answered Joanie’s smooth calls but they never came into my sight.

Well, we have some time left so we will get out as often as possible and hope for the best. I’ll let you know.

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