Guest Blog: By Jacob Edson
It was my first trip to Texas and Mossy Oak Marketing Manager Dustin ‘Shed’ Whitacre and I had come oh-so-close to tagging my first Rio Grande Gobbler. We had set up on a pair of toms that we knew would be on their way to the roost, and the plan had almost worked to perfection. One of the gobblers had come marching right down my gun barrel … until it boogered just out of range. The other gobbler added insult to injury as it snuck in from behind and lit to its roost before letting us know it had beaten us, too.
But in that gobble, was also a ray of hope. We knew exactly where that tom was and how to approach him in the morning.
So, of course, with full darkness and clouds covering our approach, Whitacre and I slipped in nice and tight on the gobbler that next morning.
He was still right there, already in range as the Texas landscape began to wake up around us. But that stubborn bird refused to gobble. And when he flew down, he went the other way.
Whitacre and I were convinced we had blown it again when the turkey finally gobbled from the other side of a small, live oak-studded draw.
This time, we weren’t going to let the bird slip away. We charged straight at him and slid to a stop at the edge of the trees. Hunkered together next to a live oak, Whitacre and I glassed for the bird ahead. That’s when we noticed him, not 70 yards out, striding across the opening in front of us.
There was no time to move into a decent setup, but Whitacre had already pulled a tail fan from his vest. He held it up in front of our crouched forms, and that crafty old tom bit like a 10-inch bass. As soon as he saw the fan of that “rival” next to that big old oak, he bee-lined it into my sights. I dumped the bird without Whitacre uttering another call.
As we walked up on the 4-year-old tom with an 11-inch beard and 1-3/8-inch spurs, I could only shake me head. Luck is the great equalizer. Sometimes it beats you down, and sometimes it makes you Texas-sized hero.