Three Jakes And A Blind by Frank Sears
It was the early morning of April 5th. I had left the cabin and was walking out across the field to the edge of a small woodlot that bordered a very large forest. I was in New Mexico calling turkeys for three individuals working on a Grand Slam with traditional archery equipment.
I was around 50 yards from the woodlot when I pulled out my owl hoot tube. I lightly blew on it, making a light “Hoot” and I heard gobbles coming from 4 directions. I noticed that the majority of the young gobbles were coming from straight ahead of me where I was headed. So I continued to slowly walk to the blind. Upon arriving to the edge of the woodlot and check on the decoys I had set out, I notice something moving ahead of me.
Single file, I see 3 jakes walking the trail ahead of me about 10 yards. I slow way down and step gently following them. I decided to gently try the hoot tube again. So I let out the “Hoot” and all 3 of the jakes responded. I was thinking to myself, why did I do that? What if I had spooked the jakes and every bird in the area took off. That in fact did not happen. I looked down at my watch and it was 7:05 am, the three guys I am calling for are already settled in their spots and I’m still trying to get to my blind and I have gobbling jakes practically on my feet. So, I decide to pick up my pace a bit and PRAY I don’t spook those jakes. I come up to where I can see my blind and what do I see but, one of the jakes SETTING ON THE TOP OF MY BLIND and the other 2 scratching in front of the door to the blind. Now I’m in trouble. I have 3 hunters set in their spots, and ready. So I had to think fast. I look around and see a downed tree so I start towards it.
I get to the tree and set down, fortunately I have in my pack a camouflage mask and gloves. I get everything on without the jakes noticing all of my movement. I start calling with a couple of clucks then a light purr. INSTANTLY, all 3 jakes are on alert and headed my way. They get within 5 yards of me and I can’t move. They are looking in my direction cocking their heads from side to side and back and forth. One of the jakes gets real brave and comes even closer. I’m trying to look out the corners of my eyes to see if I can see the three hunters I have in place. I find two of them and the third is not in his place. I must have turned my head a bit or something and the brave Jake that came closer to me jumped in the air and landed right on my leg. He sat there for the better part of 5 minutes. I was breathless, trying to watch the other hunters and trying to predict what these jakes were going to do. So without any movement, I let out 3 yelps from my diaphragm call and the jakes all three were within 1 yard of me and the one was still setting on my leg. Then the others came closer and started to peck on my boots. I started a soft run of yelps and cuts on the call and about then we heard a MONSTROUS gobble come from my right. He was gobbling between me and one of the hunters I had placed on the edge of the woodlot. This must have been the answer for the jakes; the three of them took off like dust in the wind behind me after hearing that gobble. It must be Mr. Boss Tom I thought to myself.
I started a light series of calls and the Tom just wouldn’t come out of a brush patch he was hiding in. So, I thought it was time to try random calling with 2 calls, the diaphragm and a box call. I would cut on the box then let out a couple yelps and a purr with the mouth call. We saw movement coming from the brush and then my three friendly jakes came walking out. I could still see the Tom in the farther part of the brush. The jakes were headed my way AGAIN. I laid down the box call and yelped FIERCELY about 3 times and the jakes stopped and let us hear their youthful gobbling tries. The jakes were standing there looking for the hen when Mr. Tom decided to bust out of that brush and head to find Miss Hen himself. After he made contact with the three jakes and chasing them out of the area, he put on quite a display of spitting, drumming and puffing up for us. The hunter I had placed around 10 yards from where the Tom busted out of the brush was able to harvest him. He weighed 29 ¾ # had a 12-inch beard and 1 spur at 1 ¼ inch and the other at 1 ½ inch.
This, by far was the closest I have EVER been to a live turkey while hunting. I guess you could say I now know what the meaning of “Having Birds in your lap” is.
I did help these hunters achieve their Grand Slams by calling and guiding them. At this time I can’t release their names due to copyrights and video productions. Yes, I have the Jake setting on my lap on video. The cameraman was in a tree stand above us filming the entire hunt.
Like the great Fred Bear once said, “A day in the outdoors can be more of a high than ANY drug could ever produce”