Conclusion: Stand

In this interactive feature, Editor Brian Lovett shares a scenario from his 20+ years of turkey hunting, asking "What would you do?"
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Brian Lovett
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Conclusion: Stand

Postby Brian Lovett » September 18th, 2012, 3:17 pm

In "Decision Time," Editor Brian Lovett shares a scenario from his 20-plus years hunting turkeys. Each hinges on a critical decision. Post what choice you would have made, and then see how things actually turned out.

Conclusion: Stand

I heard the bird drumming in the hole, so I knew he hadn't wandered off. That, I figured, would be my cue. If I heard the turkey start to walk away or heard the drumming fade, I would stand and try to whack him before he spotted me. Until then, however, I remained confident the bird would finish the hunt in fine fashion.

A minute later, I wasn't so sure, but the bird continued to spit and drum, so I kept the faith. When I finally heard footsteps, I prayed they were heading left instead of directly away. A flash of red and white revealed they were.

The gobbler stepped briefly into the open and then behind a wood pile, letting me adjust my gun. When he popped out from behind the wood pile, the shot met him there, and the hunt was finished.

I suppose a lot of guys would have stood and finished the hunt quicker. Then again, they might have arisen to find the bird screened by brush or rubber-necking away, offering no shot. I guess I'll never know. I took some pride in the fact that when I finally stood, it was to retrieve my longbeard and head for the truck.

What decision did you make?

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Re: Conclusion: Stand

Postby ylpnfol » September 18th, 2012, 3:46 pm

standing up quickly and aiming a gun, these days, is pretty much out of the question, [ a man has to know his limitations ], i would probably scratch in the leaves w/ my boot and purr softly to get him to take a look....lets see how i did [oops, i put this in the wrong post.....oh well......patience is the way to go the majority of the time.....]

You never know, unless you go

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Re: Conclusion: Stand

Postby Gobblerman » September 20th, 2012, 8:36 am

Well, things turned out pretty much the way I expected here,...but let me quickly relate a similar instance I had where this choice was the wrong one....

A few years ago, on the last day of the season and with one tag left to fill, I was moving along the slope of a hillside trying to stay up with a flock of birds that had a gobbler that was answering my calls from down the slope about a hundred yards away. At one point, the flock seemed to stop and the gobbler sounded as if he might be moving up the slope towards me, so I sat down at the base of a large pine tree facing downhill in the direction of his anticipated approach.

I sat there for perhaps fifteen minutes calling,...and him answering,...but not getting any closer. Suddenly a booming gobble exploded directly behind me. It was one of those gobbles that resonates to your inner core, I knew the bird was very close. I froze, knowing that it was just a matter of seconds until he stepped out where I could see him.

Seconds turned into a couple of minutes,..and then a couple more. There were no sounds at all from the direction the gobble had come, spitting, drumming, sounds of steps in the leaves,...nothing. I imagined the gobbler just standing there, looking for the hen he had heard.

More minutes passed,...and finally, I could stand it no more. In a single motion, I stood and swung around the tree with shotgun raised,...fully expecting the gobbler to be standing within easy killing range in the open woods behind me. But to my dismay, there was no gobbler there. He had somehow managed to sneak away without a sound.

I have relived that hunt often in my mind since then. It continues to haunt me,...knowing that if I had just stood up when he gobbled, I would probably have taken that last-day gobbler,...and filled that final tag. Tag soup has never tasted quite as bitter as it did that season.

It is a curiosity, though, because that hunt stands out in my mind moreso than many of the successful hunts that I have had before or since. ....This addiction we have plays funny tricks on ones psyche....

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