Kansas season opened middle of last week, I got to get over there Friday night for a Saturday hunt. This weekend was my only possible chance to hunt due to having to go to flippin' Texas for work for the next 6 weeks.
Anyways, Friday night drove to my buddy's river bottom field that we've had success in the past. Far SE corner of field had 3 birds, couldn't tell what they were, guessing hens. Hot footed it out of there to not disturb them.
This morning dad and I are sitting where they were Friday night with decoys out at 6:00 am, legal time is 6:20. About 6:10 start hearing gobblers east of us across the river, and to the far north of the field against the river, was thinking on the wrong side as well.
They gobble hard from 6:10 to 6:30, then for the most part, silence. At 7, we start shuffling around, can't really see the far side of the field, and are thinking about relocating. Stand up to discuss and see a hen 150 yards from us. Then another hen flies down and another. Pop back on the stools and start doing a little more calling. Then start seeing tom's strutting on the far end of the field, closer to where we parked the truck, where I shot one last year. Always the luck, never in the right place.
For the next 2 1/2 hours there were 3 or 4 big toms strutting and courting a handful of hens. There were several hundred yards off, from sitting position we could just see their fans over the rise of the field. They were back and forth, working a 100 yard stretch of field against the river bank. At one point, the hens worked around the river and got within a couple hundred yards of us, but that was as close as they were coming. As they started going away, I really got on the slate call hard, cutting and clucking and yelping. They were gobbling at me, but going the other direction with the hens. Dad's getting restless, stretches out and in his loud whisper 'to our left'. In perfect formation are 4 gobblers, turns out when they got closer to be just jakes with about 5" beards. They come in hard to the decoys, full strut, dragging wings, chest bumping our jake decoy to show who was boss.
Again, this is my only weekend to hunt, so I let the closest one have it. Dad wasn't going to shoot a small one, but I yelled at him to get one, so he does, then I filled my second tag on another. Turns out dad's was a double beard, equally heavy and about 5" long. One of mine was a double beard, 5" long average heaviness, but the second beard on it was about an inch long and as heavy as a mixing straw.
2 1/2 hours of watching tom's strutting and gobbling sure was fun, wishing they'd have got a little closer though.