I took the Landowner of the property where we hunt on his second successful turkey hunt. He'd shot a jake a few years ago that ran right up to him, so He really didn't get much of a grasp on how turkey hunting usually is. The Landowner called me one day and said he'd heard a bird gobbling behind the house and was asking me questions about hunting it. I offered to come call for him, and after scouting the area a couple of days prior to hunting, we set up in a small creek bottom next to some powerlines where a logging road crossed the lines that had good sign. There was plenty of strutting sign in the sandy soil there and a few dust bowls along the powerline. The Landowner was set up in a natural foxhole beside the creek where a tree had up-rooted and I was about 25 yards further up the creekbed, positioned to call the bird past his gun barrel.
Even though we heard a few distant gobbles early on, I knew to stay near that strut zone, call sparingly, and hope for the best. About 9:45, I let out a few yelps and the Gobbler answered instantly from across the powerline cut. Neither of us could see him, but he kept trying to coax that hen he was hearing to come visit. After hanging up for about 45 minutes and gobbling at least 60 times, he finally came our way to investigate. The Gobbler was good sized (21 lbs., 11 inch beard, 1 inch spurs) and he looked huge as he finally came to see what the deal was. I kept expecting the Landowner's gun to go off at any second. From where I sat, the bird offered a clear shot and was in range of me, so it was actually closer to the Landowner, but the bird was behind some thick brush and honeysuckle which offered the Landowner no shot possibilities. I watched in horror as the Gobbler strutted back in the direction he'd come from unscathed. I quickly moved further up the creekbed away from the bird to make it sound like the hen had lost interest and was leaving the area. That trick worked, and within just a couple of minutes, the bird started toward my position. The Landowner bowled him over with a load of 3 inch #5's at about 35 yards. Then, as the bird was flopping, the landowner sprinted to the Gobbler & picked it up by the legs. Even though the bird was dead and didn't know it yet, it spurred the fool out of the palm of the Landowner's hand, leaving a deep puncture wound. The bird couldn't pick it's head up and clearly wasn't going anywhere, but the hunt was so long & intense, he wasn't about to let that bird get away.
I carried the Landowner's gun while he toted the bird back up to his house. After we high-fived a few dozen times and took about as many pictures, We each enjoyed a beer in victory as I cleaned the bird for him.
Now, the Landowner hunts on his own quite a bit. He is not a great caller yet, but knows not to over-do it. He is improving with his patience and understanding all the time. Even though I didn't get him his first bird, I got him hooked on how exciting and unpredictable Turkey hunting can be.
Luck Counts, good or bad