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Timber in the Nick of Time

I’d blown the morning hunt at Terry Drury’s farm, so we were up against the

Several attempts to strike a bird fell flat, so Mark and Terry Drury, and Steve “Coon Dog” Coon and I took a break for breakfast and a strategy session. At about noon — with one hour left to hunt — the weather seemed to let up, so we hit the woods.

At our first stop, Mark struck two gobblers on a distant ridge. Trouble was, the birds were off the property, and a county road plus two fences separated us from them. Still, it was the only game in town, so off we went.

After one aborted setup and a couple of quick moves, we had gone as far as possible and had to make a final stand in some pretty timber. Mark float-called behind me and videographer Aaron Bennett, trying to pull the
gobblers to us. The birds responded well, and after a few minutes, it became
obvious they were coming.

Soon, close-range gobbling shattered the air, and I nervously looked left
and right for the approaching birds, which had crossed the road and were
trying to navigate the fence. Finally, a big light-bulb head appeared at the
edge of the woods. Then No. 2 popped up. The longbeards gobbled three times
on camera as they eased to their left and strode into the open.

When the shot rang out, the strutter flopped, and somehow — thanks to
Mark’s world-class calling and maneuvering — I’d rescued the day after my
morning gaffe.

Oh, and it was 12:59 p.m. We’d done it with one minute to spare.

Never give up. Ever.

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