I’m not sure if I’m the only one that feels this way, but it seems every successful hunt surpasses the great feeling I got from the last one and my passion for turkey hunting only grows with each tag that I fill.
I was in a restaurant the other day getting lunch for my boys after a morning soccer game when I overheard two older gentlemen discussing their morning hunt over a sandwich. They were describing the gobbles and hen yelps they heard at dawn and how they used their calls during their outing. They had to be in their 70s maybe 80s but these old timers were still hard at it and still loved the chase. I almost decided to interject and boast about the tom I’d taken earlier in the week, but my better self decided to remain humble and quiet. All the while, I couldn’t help but wonder if the Deer30 boys would still be as hard core as these two gentlemen when we are that age.
It had been 5 days since I was able to get out into the turkey woods because my wife had been out of town. But once she returned, I planned to be in position on a bird by the next morning. With my Mossberg 12 guage pump on my shoulder, I was walking toward a spot where I’d heard 3 gobblers a week ago, hoping they’d be there again.
My hike in got cut short when a tom gobbled from the roost before daylight. He didn’t sound too far, so I decided to get in position to call. He sounded interested in my yelping with my mouth call, but once he was on the ground he walked away from me and the gobbling began to sound more faint. I repositioned myself slightly in case he was trying to get around to my backside. Turns out he wasn’t that interested in me at all. He had a hen waiting for him that I could hear yelping and the the tom was answering her with a big gobble each time. Soon after they met, the noise went silent and for a moment I figured my hunt was over and I should head to the truck and to work. But, I decided to call a little bit more.
This time the hen answered and seemed frustrated with me and she started to move a little closer. I hit her back, cutting on my mouth call hoping that the gobbler would find interest in the competing hens…and this time he was! He cut me off with a loud gobble. I waited for a moment and then gave a soft yelp thinking the hen would show up first and the tom would be soon to follow. I stopped calling figuring the tom knew right where I was, and it wasn’t long before he showed up strutting down an old logging road with his big ol’ white head in clear view less than 30 yards away.
My Mossberg shotgun did the job and the rest is…sammiches! This turkey hunt is probably my proudest. Because I stayed patient and persistent, I was able to bag this ol’ gobbler that I figure may have been 4 years old. 9.5″ beard, 22 lbs and spurs 1-1/4″ long made my day…even though I had a long day at work ahead!