Larry's Short Stories

A Pretty Routine Turkey Hunt

The classic turkey pose, happy hunter with shotgun, behind a spread out fan.
The classic turkey pose, happy hunter with shotgun, behind a spread out fan.

“Cannon to right of them, / Cannon to left of them, / Cannon in front of them / Volley’d and thunder’d;” — Tennyson’s words, from The Charge of the Light Brigade, kept coming back to me as the turkeys hammered out their gobbles from three different directions — a couple of hundred yards away.
I’d left the truck at 5:05 a.m., as last night’s full moon was still high in the western sky — 48 degrees, clear and calm. It was a three quarter mile walk to my listening point, but the first gobble came at 5:20, before my arrival — game on. Then a band of coyotes opened up not far away and hoot owls chimed in from somewhere in the distance — the welcome sounds of a spring morning.
The bird continued to gobble as I walked on and finally set up on the south edge of a mostly-open five acre field — turkey still on the roost, 150 yards to my left. Cutting a few dead limbs from a fallen cedar, to provide additional cover, I sat down behind some brush — about ten yards into the feathered edge of the tree line, with my hen decoy slightly into the

The beard was pretty heavy and 10" long. My shotgun is a Winchester Model 12.
The beard was pretty heavy and 10" long. My shotgun is a Winchester Model 12.

disked field.
It was clear there was more than one tom, but no sooner than I had sat down another group of gobblers opened up 200 yards in front of me and at least one more to my right — a bit farther out. Doesn’t get much better than that. At 5:55 I started calling lightly — every minute or so.
At 6:17 a hen flew into the far end of the field and started walking and feeding. The toms in front shut up for a while, but the next gobble indicated they were on the ground and headed my way. The hen caught sight of my decoy, and then the gobblers; she up and flew away. I thought that would have spooked the gobblers, but guess not — they came on. First, I saw a head at about 65 yards and heard a gobble, but obviously from a different bird. Then there was a closer bird walking toward me, and in range. At 6:45 a.m., my hammer fell, and immediately four other long beards jumped on my bird and started to beat up on him; had to stand up to scare them off. All in all, a pretty routine turkey hunt.

1" spurs indicate this was a mature, but young bird.
1" spurs indicate this was a mature, but young bird.
Larry's Short Stories