Stories of turkey success increased in number and in excitement this week, as hunters shared their reports.

Porter Wilson of Starkville killed his first bird of the season but could have limited out if not for the one-bird per day limit. He had three long-beards approach him from three different directions and watched them battle for several minutes before they busted up and he shot the victor.

Proud father/grandfather Ray Riley of Madison shared the story of his son and grandson doubling on a pair of gobblers on a hunt that ended with a surprise twist at their camp near Hermanville.

And, about 50 miles north, teenagers and good friends Austin Partridge, 16, and Hunter Myers, 15, both of Terry, worked together to produce a trophy bird, a four-bearded gobbler on a hunt at a camp on the Mississippi River.

When stories like those begin to circulate, then one thing is pretty clear about the progression of the spring turkey season - hens are going to nest.

When that happens, it improves a hunter's odds of catching a gobbler without hens, especially later in the day after he has taken care of his ever-decreasing harem and the hens go to nest.

"No doubt about that," said Wilson. "I've hunted hard for three weeks and haven't been close until Saturday. I'd seen one gobbler all season about 100 yards away in a field and then - Wow! - the most exciting thing I've ever seen turkey hunting happens right in my lap.

"I heard some birds gobble on the roost but they shut up when they flew down and I knew they probably got with hens. I did some cutting and running and got one bird to answer me about 9 a.m. but I couldn't get him to come. I was walking back to the truck and was about 100 yards away when I tried one last loud cut. As soon as I finished the cadence, I had a bird gobble to my left. Then one gobbled to my right. Then they started gobbling at each other and sounded like they were coming."

Wilson was on an old logging road along some open woods, so he found an old overturned tree and sat down against the root wad after hastily putting up a hen decoy.

"I had others but, they were still gobbling and closing and I didn't risk it," he said. "I sat down, yelped a couple of times and one gobbler behind me cut me off immediately. Then the other two, the first two, started gobbling again and I didn't know what to think. I just figured something good was about to happen."

How good? Well, this is a turkey hunter's dream.

"The gobbler behind me got there first and was strutting around the hen decoy for about a minute when I saw the one on my right walking out," Wilson said. "When he gobbled, the strutter stopped and turned to him. They both went into strut and walking in circles around each other, like they were sizing up each other.

"Then, the other bird, from my left, came running in and he never checked up until he got between the two gobblers and the decoy and went into a strut. The next thing I knew I had three gobblers fighting. I mean they were getting after each other. It took several minutes before one left. Then a minute later another one left. The third one I figured must be the dominant one and he started strutting back toward the decoy. When the other two were out of sight, I shot the big one. He was a 3-year-old with 1¼-inch fat spurs and a 10-inch beard. The other two had longer beards I think."

Ray Riley shared the story of his prodigies, and their exciting hunt in Southwest Mississippi.

"My son, Chris Kellum, and grandson, Reed Kellum, he's 11, were sitting together and Chris, now, he's a good turkey hunter and Reed's going to be just like him," Riley said. "Chris called two gobblers in and he figured that he'd let Reed shoot."

That's exactly how it played out, but there was a twist. Chris Kellum never figured he would get a shot after his son's shotgun roared.

"But, when my grandson shot and his bird started flopping, instead of it scaring the other gobbler off, it turned and ran into gun range and started jumping on the flopping bird," Riley said. "Chris was able to shoot it and it fell right on top of Reed's turkey."

As for Partridge and Myers, Partridge said they had already given up on the hunt.

"We didn't hear a single gobble that morning (at sunrise), and all we did hear was one hen yelp," Partridge said. "By 7:30 we gave up on hunting and started looking for (antler) sheds in the woods. We were walking along and out of nowhere, a bird gobbled. I yelped at him and over the next five minutes he probably gobbled 15 times."

The two boys had a chance to get to the edge of a small food plot and it was perfect.

"If he walked out into that food plot, and we knew he was coming toward us because he was gobbling so much, where ever he walked into the plot he would be in shooting range," Partridge said. "From the time we sat down and yelped, five minutes later he was dead."

With three weeks left before the May 1 end of the season, hunters have plenty of chances to get gobblers.

"The more the hens start going to nest, the better the chances will get," said Adam Butler, the turkey program biologist for the state wildlife agency. "The season started slowly so the later we get I think the better the hunting will be."

***

Got a hunting or fishing story to share, e-mail Bobby Cleveland at bobbyc7754@yahoo.com. Include details of your adventure and photos.