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Looking Forward Back

recap2So there they stood: 30-some sodden turkeys, just doing what rain-soaked turkeys do, in a stubble field near an oak ridge I have permission to hunt. And that afternoon, I had an hour or so to hunt.

That was my quandary. Yeah, they were near the area I could hunt, and they'd eventually be on "my" ground, but they weren't yet. And if it continued raining, the turkeys would likely stay in the open field. Did I attempt to slip to the field edge and yelp one onto the property? Plausible, to be sure, but also risky. The ridge is wide open, and getting close to the birds would mean risking bumping the entire group.

Against my nature, I decided to leave those turkeys alone that afternoon and hunt the spot in the morning. After being soundly thumped by the other turkeys, I hoped my decision had been good.

The next morning, I slipped to the bottom of the ridge, found a decent tree and waited in the dark. When a gobble finally pierced the darkness 100 yards away, I knew I was in business. When another bird joined in, I felt even better.

As expected, the turkeys flew down to the field edge, perhaps 100 yards from me. I yelped on a mouth call, and both responded immediately. I tried not to "fire-hose" the turkeys with calling right away, and after five minutes, the birds seemed to break and start toward me.

Soon, I saw the gobblers slipping through the dark woods. When they ducked behind some cover, I yelped again, and they climbed all over it. When the lead bird got sure-kill close and craned his neck to look for the hen, my shot met him, and the hunt was finished.

Maybe my decision the previous afternoon had been correct. Or maybe there were just a lot of turkeys in that area. Either way, the ridge gobbler provided at least one more memory from the rapidly fading season.

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