The Swamp Gobbler 2003
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By Andrew Lewand

On May 6th, I ventured to a local farm in pursuit of another New York State long beard. In years past, I’d taken a couple of Jakes off the farm, but had taken no mature birds there. One this day, I gone in “blind” (no prior scouting) and set up along a field edge with a swamp/hardwoods nearby. My hope faded as no gobbles were heard. I did manage to hear on lone gobble, however, he was too far way as I had neither time nor permission to pursue that bird.

At 6:00 AM, I figured I might as well start calling. I cranked up the Primos Power Crystal and immediately three hens appeared out of the woods. They came right to me. I thought it strange that no Toms were in tow and decided to re-visit this farm in a week or so to see if any Toms would move in.

On May 19th, I set up against the same tree as in my previous outing. I was almost shocked when a gobbler sounded off within 100 yards. He flew down early and I could tell by the sound of his gobbles that he was going away through the swamp. “I’ve got to relocate” I thought and quickly circled way around the bird. The swamp was a mess due to the recent ice storm, as downed trees were everywhere. I did my best to find a set up position. The resident crows were my best friends at this point for when they cawed, the gobbler would respond with a healthy gobble. I was able to gage his position and picked a tree to set against. I figured the bird to be 100 yards away and yelped aggressively with my mouth diaphragm call. My heart raced as he answered my yelps. As his gobbles sounded closer and closer, my heart pounded! “I’m gonna get him” I thought to myself. There was shooting lane in the swamp and he was coming right to it. Somehow, his gobbling was beyond this opening. “What happened?” I pondered. Suddenly, I could see his white head behind a blow-down. It was now or never! His head was the only part of him in the Simmons Pro Diamond scope. The Remington 870 scored again! I splashed my way over to a pristine gobbler 30 yards away.

What a beautiful specimen... vibrant colors, a perfect full fan, sharp 1+ spurs and 2 beards! My first thought was... “ I must get this bird mounted”. I took extra care in carrying the trophy one mile back to the truck. Even though my adrenaline was high, he seemed to weigh 25 pounds (my scale would show 20 pounds, oh well) as I lugged him across the endless field. As I approached the truck, the landowner happened by and I was excited to show him the bird. A phone call to Jimmy Gall, at Beikirch’s Ammunition, solidified my desire to have this bird mounted. To me, a full mound is a fitting tribute to a turkey that gave such a memorable morning!

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