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  • Writer's pictureSteve Sorensen

The Northern Scratchbox Is GOLD!

On Thursday I had a doctor's appointment (and I sold one of my calls to my doctor). After the appointment, I decided to head out for an evening hunt. I don't remember ever hunting in the evening before yesterday.

I headed out mainly to scout for an opportunity for Friday morning. Because temperatures got so high Thursday (at least 89°) I decided to cover the east side of the hill where it was surely cooler, rather than the side of the hill baked in the afternoon sun. I made an assumption that any turkeys on the east side of the hill would be down the hill to stay in the cool shade. I guessed correctly.

I found a gobbler track in some dried mud and sat down near it. I let everything settle for a half-hour and then began some soft purrs and clucks on my Northern Scratchbox. My third or fourth call got a response off to my right and down over the hill a bit. He wasn't far away so from then on I purred softly every four or five minutes, and he answered, a little closer each time. My last call went unanswered. That's when I figured he was committed.

A few minutes later I saw him working up the hill, but staying to my extreme right. His head was as red as arterial blood, and he fanned out every few steps. He hit a logging road to my right and rather than walk in on the road toward me, he crossed it. He fanned out again, made a hard "Cluck" a gobbler makes when he's looking for the girl, and folded. In my experience, the first cluck means "Here I am. Where are you?" The second cluck means "I'm leaving." I didn't let him make that second cluck. The shot was right at 40 yards, longer than I prefer, but it was my only chance and he was in the clear.

I think because of the extreme angle I dropped the barrel of the gun as I pulled the trigger, so it wasn't a one-shot kill. But he didn't go far.

He weighed 21 pounds and had a 9" beard. The spur I measured is 1¼" long and the other looks a bit shorter. Both are ivory colored with sharp, black tips. He's three years old or older.

Although I have a second tag, I'm not going to spend a lot of time trying to fill it. I hope to call one in for a disabled friend of mine (we came close on Monday), and I plan to hunt one day next week with a buddy over in Bradford. Turkeys seem scarce here in northern Warren County this year, at least in the places I usually hunt. I also have two tags for New York, but I may not get up there.

Regarding my Northern Scratchbox, I've called in a lot of gobblers with it. Many have been duped by the purrs I used yesterday to lure this big old boy. I have calls ready to ship in both Cherry and Maple (about two dozen of them), and if you want one now is the time to order. I'll be raising the price June 1. Other hunters are having good luck with it. Some have called in a gobbler with the Northern Scratchbox, and sent another order for friends. It's a killer.

Incidentally, Thursday was my dad's birthday. Dad died on January 3 at age 91. I'm not superstitious about any supposed influence he has on my hunts from the other side, but I know this would have pleased him and he would have loved to hear the story. But hey — maybe he already knows. Until later, Dad!


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