I started this morning at the other horse farm up near the highest point in the woods. It is a great place to listen from. It got good and light, but no gobbles were happening. Around 6:20, I heard one fire up a long ways off to the south, probably the second property over. Too far to work. A few minutes after that, another gobbler fired up in the neighboring cattle pasture west of my position. He was probably closer than he sounded because there are already so many leaves on the trees, so I hot footed it his direction using the new riding trail I opened up last Winter. The property boundary goes to a wide & fairly long point that extends very close to the pasture, but the woods are more open along the fence. Plus, I knew where the fence went from welded wire to barbed wire and I started looking for a good set up where the gobbler could get through the strands of barbed wire. I picked a good wide pine with small trees & honeysuckle all around it that would provide great cover for a natural blind. It was about 80 yards from the fence line. As I was trimming a few small treetops to make clearance for the gun and to use as a fast blind, I heard a couple of quiet yelps up near some old rusty farm implements along the other side of the fence line. The gobbler hammered back from out near the middle of the pasture. I found a turkey nesting in among the brush surrounding those implements last year and was glad I didn't get too close and spook her. I didn't want to have to compete with her, though the last thing I wanted to do was alert her to my presence and send her putting off towards the gobbler. I waited a few minutes to make sure I was ready to go if he approached fast. I cutt hard on the box call and he hammered back with a triple gobble. He gobbled twice more on his own a few minutes apart. To keep him interested and hopefully get him out of the pasture, I cutt hard again, but the paddle slipped from between my fingers and made an awful squawking sound. He gobbled back at it anyway. It was now about 6:50 and I could tell he was getting closer with each gobble. I checked the gun's safety, switched the red dot on, and got the gun up & ready to go. He was about 60 yards on the other side of the fence headed my way. I was hoping the hen was going to stay out of the way where I could get a decent shot. I checked my watch and at 6:57, I suddenly heard a shotgun blast from just on the other side of the fence line. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?!?!?! Two guys jumped up from near the implements and sprinted towards the downed gobbler. After many high fives & much celebrating, they walked back to their set up. I heard one guy say to the other "You ought to thank that guy because he broke that gobbler from being hung up." I got a "Thanks." shout from the shooter. Poop. They were the hen I'd heard. The gobbler wasn't buying their calls, but he lit up and committed to mine. I had no idea I was helping pull him right to their guns.
I suppose I'm happy for them and I'm probably about as bent out of shape as I can get at the same time. It was nice to have a gobbler respond to my calls, he just never made it to my gun.
Luck Counts, good or bad