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Pride and the Hasty Hunter

Ever scold yourself about hurrying in the turkey woods but do it anyway?

Yeah, me too. In fact, I learned that lesson the hard way — again — this past week in Michigan.

Paul Smutz and I had left our early-morning setup to chase three hard-gobbling longbeards across a small creek. Trouble was, the birds stopped gobbling during our approach, so we had to take an educated guess about their location.

As we rounded a corner and started down a two-track, I thought I heard a cluck and stopped. I didn't see anything, so I continued for a few steps ... until a funny-looking black hump 100 yards away caught my eye.

Gobbler. No, two. No, actually three.

We hit the dirt and tried to make like rocks. And surprisingly, it worked, as the birds — with the early-morning sun shining in their eyes — continued to approach. When they got to about 75 steps, however, the lead birds eyed the funny bumps, putted and headed away.

Impatience and carelessness can kill you. That will sink in ... some day.

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