I hunted in Hillsdale County and almost got a nice long beard on Monday. He came to within 60 yards before turning away. So close. Tuesday I moved to a different spot on the property where I had a pop-up blind to hunt in the expected rain, and after hearing a few gobbles from the roosts early, I saw nothing and heard nothing after 6:45AM. I would give calls every 20 minutes or so, but nothing. Then at 11:20 am I heard a distant gobble. I figured it was a tom whose hens had left him for their nests and now was lonely. I replied with my Lynch box call. He eventually gobbled again. I waited a few minutes, not wanting to sound too responsive, and called back. We did this a few times and he still sounded distant. Then I quit calling, hoping he was sneaking in quietly. (A few years ago in PA I got busted by a tom doing the same answering then sneaking. I then kept calling and he took off after getting close.) 5-10 minutes later and there he is, 150 yards out sneaking in by the edge of some pines. My binoculars showed his long beard so I got the gun up on the stick, pointing out the opening I hoped he'ld come by. He dropped out of sight behind a pine and some brush then came out into my field. I thought of letting him keep coming as he was heading towards my decoy past me. But I would have had to shift my gun and maybe me and worried about being busted. So boom and down he goes at 40 yards. He didn't flop. Sweet, it more than made up for my close chance Monday. It was a lot of work taking 2 trips getting him, my gear & blind out. Then drove to the other side by the barn and cleaned him as the rain opened up. He weighed 23 3/4 lbs, had a 10 1/4" beard and 1 3/8" spurs, a real big beauty, my 62nd gobbler.
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