I have a lot of failures turkey hunting. I know my turkey stories make it sound like I always outwit the bird. Quite the opposite. And it makes me a better turkey hunter.
On the last day of some season I hadn’t killed a gobbler in the second week. Up in the day I went to one of my favorite timbers. I worked my way through the timber stopping occasionally to set up and call. Nothing.
When I worked my way through the timber and was looking at an open pasture, I could hear a flock of turkeys chit chatting in the wooded hillside between that bare pasture and the open pasture below it. I crossed the fence and followed them hen yelping once in a while to see if there was a gobbler with them and I could make him think he had left a willing hen.
I had gone about 200 yards when I got an unexpected response – a gobble just over the hill from me out in the bare pasture. There was not place for me to hide in the narrow neck of woods, so I hotfooted it back to the bigger timber. I crossed the fence and headed uphill until I found a big oak about six feet from the fence, not ideal, but the best choice I had.
The fence had a lot of small saplings growing in it that I thought about cutting with the folding saw I always carry. Then I thought, “No need. A gobbler never comes all the way to the timber. He will stop in gun range to strut and gobble and I’ll get him.”
So I gave a series of hen yelps on my high pitched call. “Gobble. Gobble. Gobble.” The bare pasture exploded with gobbles as three long beards came in a dead run. They didn’t stop until their breast feathers were rubbing on the fencerow. Try as I might I couldn’t find a hole to shoot through. Finally one of the gobblers dropped down on his breast and slid under the bottom wire five feet or less from my gun carrel. That close, it’s advantage turkey.
Now I know what I’d do: body shoot him about the wing tips. It wouldn’t hurt the fan or the breast.
After about five seconds, he alarm putted an flew off southeast. From the other side of the fence the second gobbler took off due east. The third gobbler took to the wing due west.
I had them split up. I thought about trying to call them back, but decided I’d had enough. I headed to a wooded hill about a quarter mile away. I called a little while and got no response, so I gave up and stepped out of the timber. A gobbler had made it about half way from the creek to my calling spot.
I was one of those days where every decision I made was wrong. KL