So for the sake of posterity, here's the list of 2010 birds that now reside in my freezer, and in all cases but 1, at least 1 picture.
April 8 - A jake was the first bird to fall this year. My trigger finger was itchy, and he was gobbling at a train going through on the next ridge over. I shot him in the bean while he had his head stretched out. No picture.
April 10 - Killed a good 3-year old as part of the Governor's One-Shot Turkey Hunt gala. The hunter I was guiding killed a jake earlier in the day, and was willing to hang in there with me until I got this bird within gun range. Video to follow!
April 21 - This was a 3-year old that came in silent to whack my tom decoy, and was my only bow kill of the year. I shot him in the head at 10 yards, but only scratched him. Well, I didn't know that at the time, but as he walked slowly away following the first shot, I decided to anchor him with a second. That arrow, delivered at about 28 yards, hit him stern-to-stem. I'd love to share the video on this one, but I hit the "record" button twice, and have all of 1 second of video. I was almost physically ill.
April 26 - The first Rio of the year fell as part of a double. My hunting buddy on this trip was Bob Allen, 4-H agent in Clark County, IN. Bob and I roosted this pair of 2-year old birds the night before, and got right between them and a longbeard with some hens that roosted on the opposite side of the field. They strutted so close to one another when they got to the decoys that we almost didn't get to shoot. Luckily, it eventually worked out. Cool stuff! Video to follow.
Bob killed his second Rio that night, within 200 yards of where the morning pair fell. No picture, but video to follow!
April 27 - The second Rio was a solid 3-year old with good color. I'm not sure how far he came to get to us, but a jake actually walked him in, and the jake came from nearly 600 yards away - we watched him come every step of the way. The jake bred the hen decoy, fed around, came back to snuggle with the hen decoy, fed again, went away, came back, then went away again. I kept him gobbling most of the time, and when he came back for the 3rd time, he was towing this longbeard behind. Sorry, no video!
So that's it. Six birds for the year, 5 of them longbeards. Bob can tell you, when my 2nd Kansas Rio hit the ground, I was fired up. Shooting turkeys never gets old!