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Long Live Trashtalker!

Once in a great while we are blessed with a bird that challenges us to the core!  Trashtalker was that bird.  We met four years ago during a hunt with my daughter.  We had set up in a large hollow or draw that had not shown much activity in the past.  But then…it happened!  A bird sounded off not 100 yards away in the hollow.  It gobbled….roughly 70 times in 45 minutes!  Never met such a vocal bird.  We called him in and…you guessed it…my daughter had her first miss of her turkey career.  We named him Trashtalker because of his need to gobble so many times in the morning.

The second year we hunted the hollow and, after the birds had split up in April, found Trashtalker alive and well in that same hollow.  He gobbled 50 or more times within a 30 minute period!  No other bird has ever gobbled so much!  This time, he was a bit harder to call in.   But after a few hunts, we did and…yep!  She missed him again!  It was a tougher shot but well within her range.  He was gone for the day.  Later that year, I took a friend from work and we set out to hunt Trashtalker.   After a long morning of listening to Trashtalker gobble nearly 100 times, we finally had him on the edge of the field.  He would not come out of the trees but we had a shot.  My friend missed!  Later in the season my father-in-law once again went after him. Knowing he would not expose himself in the open, we went into the hollow.  Again, we had him within 50 yards and he just vanished.

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The last day of the season I had him!  He was just over a rise in the field at the edge of the woods.  I couldn’t see him but I could hear him…dozens of gobbles within minutes.  As I peeked over the rise…at 4pm in the afternoon, he was sitting up in a tree roosted.  I would not kill him that way.

The waiting game!
The waiting game!

Last year I went after him alone.  I had him one morning just 40 yards from the blind in the timber.   He gobbled over 200 times that morning but would not move.  Finally, around 10am, I slowly walked into the timber to set up closer to where I though he wanted to be.   I entered just in time to see him fly off the roost and leave…at 10am!

Last weekend my father-in-law went to the hollow and set up in hopes Trashtalker had made it another year.  He had!  By 715 am he had gobbled nearly 70 times.  We were pumped!   I decided to stop calling and try more subtle communication.  After a hefty dose of simulated wing flapping with my hat, Trashtalker flew down and came strutting out to the blind.  Once he saw my Jake decoy, he came running!  This time, my father-in-law was behind the trigger and his shot was true.  We could not believe that after all this time, Trashtalker lay not 12 yards from the blind.  It was the end of an era!

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Trashtalker
Trashtalker

About jeff rawlinson

Jeff is the Education Manager in the Communications Division with Game and Parks where he has worked for the last 15 years. He oversees the Hunter Education, Boater Education, Hunter Outreach and Shooting Range Development for the Commission and is a devout hunter, angler, wildlife viewer, naturalist, father and husband. He holds a BS and MS from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. He has been a Hunter Education Instructor for over 20 years, NRA firearms instructor and range officer, National Archery in the Schools Program Archery Instructor Specialist and member of the National NASP Board, sits on the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Hunter Recruitment and Retention Committee and Education Committee. Jeff is an avid handgun hunter, loves to chase turkeys in the spring, squirrel hunting enthusiast and philosopher of the outdoors. He is an avid shooter and loves to spend outdoor time with family and friends. He has a passion for exciting others about the outdoors. A history buff, Jeff is a strong supporter of our North American Model of Conservation and tries to spread the message of its importance and relevance every chance he gets.

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