By Morgan Baseley of 2girls hunting.
The sun rose over me on the opening day of fall turkey season in Northern California, but it’s rays did little to warm my body. I shivered and wished that I had dressed a bit warmer. Luckily I was hunting turkeys, and that made me excited. They weren’t coming to the location that I anticipated. Do I stay here and wait, or do I go off to some other location to find the turkeys? With my hunting experience, I have learned that turkey hunting requires you to be still and patient. So I sat.
I could hear the turkeys off in the distance, but I had yet to see them. I continued to wait. I sat still and stayed quiet as I heard them getting closer. I’ve learned that turkeys have very keen eyesight and can pick up even the smallest of movements. Then, they made themselves visible.
There were somewhere between 15-20 turkeys. The hens came in first followed by a group of toms with a handful of jakes running around. Right off the bat I noticed a bearded hen, but she was staying within the group. Then I was eyeballing a nice tom, but again, he was pretty close to the rest of them. I know that it is unethical to flock shoot turkeys, for you run the chance of wounding a bird other than your target or even killing more than one bird in a single shot. I figured if I was going to have a successful hunt I was going to have to be patient and wait for the one turkey to break away from the rest of the flock, for a safe, clean shot. All of a sudden, a hen singled herself out, about 20 yards in front of me. My backdrop was safe and I slowly raised my shotgun (Remington model 1100), took a deep breath and with a gentle squeeze on the trigger she dropped to the ground. One shot, one turkey, one happy girl!
She was one of the smaller turkeys in the flock, but still a healthy 13 pounds. It was my first solo hunt from start to finish. Watching the sunrise, patiently calling in the birds, using my knowledge to decide which one to take, dropping a bird, cleaning and cooking. It was all me.
Addendum: California allows fall turkey hunters to take one turkey a day (either sex), two per season. Spring turkey season allows hunters to only take Toms. I knew of this law and it was what came into place during my hunt, this is why I chose the smaller hen versus the tom or bearded hen. Being a responsible, ethical and law abiding hunter is what I have been raised to be.