Decision Time: Dread and the Fugitive Mind

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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Decision Time: Dread and the Fugitive Mind

Postby Brian Lovett » February 16th, 2011, 4:36 am

In "Decision Time," Editor Brian Lovett will share 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.

Dread and the Fugitive Mind

It had already been one of those days.

First, the alarm hadn't gone off, so my two friends and I were late. Then there was a truck parked where we'd wanted to hunt. Oh, and did I mention it was raining? On a good note, we were in Missouri, so we could quit at 1 p.m.

Not expecting much, we hit a back-up spot and set up. Lo and behold, our first yelps were met with raucous gobbling from deep in a timbered hollow just off the property. We were in business.

We continued calling, and the birds kept gobbling. In fact, they seemed to be getting closer. Soon, drumming filled the air, and we readied for the end of the hunt.

But where was the bird? We couldn't see it, and the gobbling from the hollow -- albeit closer -- seemed too distant to be from the same turkey.

"To the right," my buddy whispered.

I glanced to the right. Nothing.

"No, to the right," he hissed. "Way right."

I cut my eyes as far right as I could, and there he was -- a gobbler sprinting to our setup. The longbeard came so fast, in fact, that he was soon 15 steps away, staring at three dorky-looking blobs huddled next to a locust tree.

Stuck! The bird knew something wasn't right and was preparing to high-tail it out of there. To shoot him, however, I'd have to move forward and shift my gun 90 degrees to my right. If I tried to quick-draw the turkey, he might flush. But if I moved too slowly, I wouldn't get on him in time.

Panic started to set in.

What would you have done? Post your decision below.

Click here for Lovett's decision.

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RE: Decision Time: Dread and the Fugitive Mind

Postby dewey » February 16th, 2011, 4:51 am

Brian it seems like you get yourself into these situations a LOT.[:D] and from reading your previous posts I think I would try to turn very sloooowly or if he turns his head, fans out you could move faster. I don't think I owuld try the quick shot turning to the right.

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will." --Mahatma Gandhi

"Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat."--F. Scott Fitzgerald, American writer


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RE: Decision Time: Dread and the Fugitive Mind

Postby WillowRidgeCalls » February 16th, 2011, 5:25 am

I'd have to agree with dewey, and try the slow move on him, but I'd also switch and be shooting him left handed to keep as much movement down as possible. That happens a lot and when you sight your gun in that is one thing a hunter doesn't do to often, take a couple shots left handed if your a right handed shooter or vice a versa.

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RE: Decision Time: Dread and the Fugitive Mind

Postby bow_junky » February 20th, 2011, 7:38 pm

As a humble tax payer of MO Id say no need risking a a shot on a running turk.  Your in MO bro, watch him run off to hunt another day and settle back in for the other bird thats hammering away.  And this time BE READY lol.

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RE: Decision Time: Dread and the Fugitive Mind

Postby joeturkey » February 22nd, 2011, 12:22 pm

Hey Brian; I have had my share of these encounters as well. It seems every time I decide to slow move and shoot or quick draw em it ends with ol tom putting, running, laughing over the next ridge! I have learned from this! I would remain perfectly still and let him walk away. Once he is out of sight I would reposition also shooting lefthanded if needed and try to fire him up again. I've taken numerous birds with this approach. Many times a tom gets nervous when he doesn't see the hen who's calling and moves off a ways, only to come right back when she calls to him again.
"You need to drink a few large glasses of beer tonight. That is the only solution. "

Ben Franklin


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RE: Decision Time: Dread and the Fugitive Mind

Postby educote » February 23rd, 2011, 8:54 am

I would try to confuse him.

Moments before he was hot blooded coming in on a dead run. Something alerted him and he decided to leave. As soon as he stepped behind an obstruction I would start cutting on my mouth call and swing my gun around at the same time. This tugs on whatever lust he had left in his heart and provides a strong stimulus, which he will likely pause and look back. Coupling the sound and movement could very well give you just the last second pause you need to make the shot. I think it is better than either the slow turn or has worked for me in similar situations.

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RE: Decision Time: Dread and the Fugitive Mind

Postby TRapper » March 27th, 2011, 8:53 am

i would just move fast so it is still a surprise to the tom, kinda like the 1 sec pause of shock, then in that one second you can aim the way you need to and be able to lead the bird as he prepares to take flight, just like you would a pheasant, had a turkey do this 3 years ago, i actually shot him in the head with my 3.5 inch 12 gauge new england single shot, and he had just left the ground, my buddy dropped the first one and so i moved quickly and got on the turkey fast.
Joshua "TRapper" Jones
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