I was set up at the base of a big ridge. I was about 15 feet into the treeline, facing an open field, with a good natural blind built in front of me. I'd seen droppings and scratchings that indicated turkeys had recently walked along that field edge and up the face of the ridge and I'd heard gobbling on several mornings coming from the top of that ridge, so my plan was to ambush them on their way home from a long day in the turkey woods. I also set out a couple of decoys, a feeding hen and a jake in the corner of the field.
My sexy hens yelps and cuts weren't getting any responses and I was beginning to wonder if this perfect ambush spot wasn't so perfect after all. But I decided to try one other tactic. Between a slate, a diaphram and my hat, I staged a good tom fight for a minute or so. Then I gave it a rest and decided to do the same myself. I had my shotgun in my lap and my head back against that treetrunk when I head footsteps in the pinestraw. He wasn't coming in cautious either, he was on a dead run down that ridge !
What's that you say ? Can't call a turkey downhill ? ....Yeah, that's what I'd heard too. ....Don't believe everything you hear. This old boy was coming in with the throttle wide open. I knew it had to be a gobbler itching to get involved in the fray, you just couldn't mistake the sound of his feet in the dead leaves and pinestraw.
He was maybe about 10 feet behind me and the footsteps went silent. Mind you I haven't seen him yet, but I can feel him behind me. He was so close, I thought he might run right into my set-up and join me. .....Then the other unmistakable sound came, the dreaded "putt". He'd putt, then he'd purr. Putt-purr, putt-purr, put-purr. There was the sound of feet moving about back there along with the putt-purring. At some point I figured he was heading out of town, back up the ridge and I turned my head to at least what I'd missed.
But he hadn't gone anywhere. He'd just been pacing around and he was only about 15 feet away from me. Of course, when I moved, he gave me the evil eye and with one good wing flap he turned and raced back up that ridge, putting all the way.
In hindsight I concluded that he had lost sight of my decoys behind my blind and perhaps if I had just waited him out, he might have paced around enough to sight them again and subsequently put himself in my gun sights.
"You can't grill it 'till you kill it."