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Opening day flash hunt.
Had some work obligations to tend to Saturday morning...thankfully I work from home.  And I live on the place I hunt.  Finished my last call at 11:10AM.  Kind of late to start with noon quitting time and I almost didn't bother.  But I grabbed my gun and a mouth call and headed out.

I know the birds on this place because I've hunted here my whole life.  Late morning early season, odds are good they're fooling around in the back corner of a 20 acre hay field.  It's kind of a bowl indentation on a fairly steep slope that crests in the middle of the field.  They like the cover from the uneven terrain and feed and breed away in that bowl (which is a couple acres at least).  At the back of the field is a 5 year old heavy select cut.  The downhill side of the field is hardwoods going down to a creek, very heavy cover in places from a 20 year old select cut.

If they are at this location, you can't call them out of the field.  Over the years I have figured out the best way to hunt birds there is to drop down along the creek below the field, then come straight up and set up in the treeline 15- 20 yards below the field.  A hot gobbler can be called over and killed if you can find a hole through the thick cover to shoot.  I have done this.  So yesterday morning I set up 10-15 yards in the woods.  I used some round bails on the field edge as cover to get in position.  I let out a series of yelps and heard nothing.  

So I stood up using the round bales as cover.....I was 15 yards behind them but they gave me cover to stand up without being seen by birds in the field (they have been there 25 years now) and there was 3 jakes in the field, the closest about 45 yards away, which is my limit.  He was looking right at me, probably looking for the source of the yelps.  I took aim and shot.  He rolled then stood up looking around and walking like he was unhurt.  I chambered another shell.  He broke into a run to take flight and by the time I got a well aimed shot off he was further than I would have liked.  Flew off toward the corner of the field.  Time is now 11:25.

There was at least a dozen feathers where he rolled.  If not for theses I would have thought I missed the way he acted after the first shot. Not sure that the second shot hit him at all.  I went and searched the 5 year cut at the end of the field thinking that is where the best cover would be for a wounded bird to hide.  No sign of him. So I followed his line of flight and found him piled up dead on the steep hill in the open hardwoods.  Like he just dropped out of the air dead mid-flight, which I bet is what happened. 

Very relieved to find him.  I have not lost a bird since 2005.  First jake since 2002.  Not sure how much hunting I will do this year.  Had him for dinner tonight and he ate very good.
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