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April 10: John O'Dell

Well I was still on a high from my son taking his first turkey the weekend before in Kentucky but it was time for me to head down to hunt the North Carolina and Virginia turkey opener with good friends Matt Bullins and Jason Bowers from Dream Season Workin Man. To kick off Longbeard Madness 17 I had one goal. First and foremost was to get my son his first turkey. Check! So now it was time for me to just enjoy the rest of the season. So Friday after work I packed the truck and hit the road. I arrived at my hotel sometime after midnight so I knew it would be a short night but isn’t that how it is supposed to be during spring turkey season.

Opening morning Matt and Jason met me at my hotel at 5:00AM and after a short drive we were at our first set up of the day. It was a perfect morning from a weather perspective but the toms just weren’t gobbling. As the day progressed I realized why and it was because the gobblers were henned up bad. We did call in a trio of jakes and captured some awesome video but despite our best efforts we only had encounters of the unfortunate kind with longbeards. I did have one chance at a big tom but Jason could not get good video and so I had to let him walk. Then our afternoon hunt was rained out due to severe thunder storms and tornado warnings in our area. That gave us time to formulate a plan of attack for the next mornings hunt.

We decided to set up in an area where we had seen a big strutter the day before and just call sparingly and wait him out in hopes that he would show up again. We went in under the cover of darkness and popped up a blind right in the middle of the field. It was a foggy morning and I was not sure how the turkeys would respond. Well fortunately for me the fog seemed to make the turkeys gobble like crazy. We had not one but two birds tearing it up on the roost. Soon I could tell the birds were on the ground and after one series of yelps from my MAD calls Cut-Touch mouth call he appeared like a ghost in the fog and proceeded to strut all the way in from 150 yards out. He strutted right up to the decoy which I had set up 15 steps from the blind. It was an awesome sight! When he turned his back I drew back my PSE Dream Season Evo and let my rage tipped Bow Madness arrow fly. When the arrow hit, the big tom did a flip in the air and only went 30 yards! It was awesome!! A big thank you goes out to Matt and Jason for inviting me on this hunt. They both still have tags so good luck guys. I am sure you will show up on the journal soon with some big VA/NC longbeards!

Good Hunting!
John