Although I have hunted for 40 odd years i only started intentionally hunting turkey last fall. Last fall i managed to put the stalk on a nice hen. Fast forward to now and Friday morning (the opener in my part of the world) I headed out to try for a Tom. This morning came and went with no joy. Packed it in around 9 am and then went back out and was set up again by 345 pm. I was behind a cheap tri-fold camo shield with my back against a big maple wearing full ghillie attire overlooking a bean stubble field. I started calling about every 10 or 15 minutes and at about 430 i saw 4 birds hop the fence into the field about 500 yards from my position. At that distance I could not tell if there was a Tom or not but after my first call with them in sight one of the birds turned my way and fanned - Tom located. I spent the next 1 hour calling gently every 3 or 4 minutes. Every time i called the Tom would look my way, fan and move 10 or 20 yards towards my 2 decoys set up about 15 yards from my position. Finally at about 530 pm I had him in range and pulled the trigger at about 32 yards. I was shooting my O/U 20 gauge with factory full on top and modified on the bottom. Shells were 1.25 oz. #6 Rem Nitro Mags.
At the shot the Tom flew 20 yards, landed, walked awkwardly for about 60 yards and than just stood still. Clearly not a perfect shot and it was now a waiting game. After an hour of waiting he was still standing but had not moved. His back was to me so i decided to try to stalk in for a kill shot as there was only 30 minutes of legal hunt left. I got to about 60 yards when he cranked around, stuck his head up and than flew 50 yards. He landed and immediately started to run. I froze in place and watched as he quickly ran 250 yards and than slowly walked another 200 back to the place in the fence where he had crossed into the field. After that I lost sight of him and was sure he had squeezed through somewhere and was now disappearing into the hardwoods. I stalked towards the spot where i lost sight of him and low and behold caught sight of him laying against the bottom of the fence. His head was up and he was still very much alive but at 20 yards with his head up I sealed the deal.
Next to the cedar rail fence where he ended his run:
He went straight to the taxi where he will join my hen on a diorama showcasing my first two birds ever doing a mating dance.