Turkey Hunting: Finishing the Job

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I have never been one for tears of disappointment in the spring turkey woods.  As Tom Hanks’ character in “A League of Their Own” said, there is ‘no crying in baseball,’ and there is certainly no crying in the sport of turkey hunting.  However, leaving three gobbling turkeys to head to the office on one particular April morning in 2009 brought me as close to tears as I have ever been.
It was one of those mornings that we as turkey hunters dream of.  Half a dozen gobblers were sounding off in the west Alabama woods, and a group of three in my neighbors’ pasture had my interest, as they were blazing hot.  No matter how convincing my calls were, I could not will the gobblers to come onto my property. 

As the clock neared eight, it was time to head to the office to fulfill my duties for Mossy Oak Properties.  Leaving the turkeys that had whipped me all morning was difficult, but necessary.  As I unloaded my shotgun upon reaching my truck, the faint gobbles resonating from the pasture added to my displeasure.  Like the legendary General Douglas McArthur, I vowed to return that afternoon to “take care of business.”

It was a productive day in the office.  I was able to block out the thought of my unfinished business in the woods by knocking out all of my required work.  As the clock neared five, and the arch of the sun fell to its last quarter, my anticipation reached an unhealthy level.  When the clock on my computer struck 5:00, it was an all-out dash to my truck and a driving job worthy of the Talledega 500 to the tract of land I had reluctantly left that morning.

As soon as I arrived, I ran to the spot I was going to listen for the gobblers from.  While short on breath, I crowed with my voice, and was answered immediately by one of the gobblers, who was exactly where he had been that morning.  I quickly formulated my plan and slithered through a thick pine plantation to reach the creek bottom that I was going to setup in.  The bottom ran into the pasture, and would provide the gobblers an easy travel route for their approach.

The gobblers sounded off several times while I was nearing my spot, giving me the impression they had been gobbling all day long.  I positioned myself on a large pine and immediately began soft calling and scratching in the leaves.  A few minutes later, a gobble rang out from just over the crest of the hill and on the edge of the pasture.  It was about to happen.

I readied my shotgun and flicked off my safety as I heard the unmistakable sound of turkeys walking in the leaves.  It was not long before I spotted one of the gobblers easing my way at about sixty yards.  The two other gobblers soon appeared, and I prepared myself for the shot.  My heart was racing as the gobblers closed the distance and entered the red zone.  When the strutting turkey drifted to my left and went behind a tree, I made my move.  As soon as he stepped out, the roar of a Winchester #5 ended what had been a long day of anticipation.

We all have responsibilities that keep us from staying with that gobbler until he is in the back of our truck.  I was fortunate to be able to return to close out the sale, thanks in part to Alabama’s allowance of afternoon hunting.  Where afternoon hunting is legal, I would highly recommend making a return trip to visit the gobblers that left you hanging earlier in the day.  Many times, you will be able to relocate those turkeys, and finish the job!
David Hawley
David Hawley from Livingston, Alabama is the Franchise Sales Manager for Mossy Oak Properties. A true turkey hunting addict, he moonlights as the Editor for Wild Turkey Report. Contact David by emailing him at editor@wildturkeyreport.com or dhawley@mossyoakproperties.com!
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