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Surprise! Awful Hunt Turns Out on Top

by Brian Lovett

Only turkey hunting could turn something so wonderful into something so
awful.

There I was, hunkered against a tree, listening to a gobbler hammer nonstop
from the limb 100 yards away. He'd climbed all over my first tree-yelp, so I
was eagerly awaiting flydown.

And fly down he did — across an open hayfield to his landing pad, 20 yards
to my left. Seconds later, his white head bobbed through the woods, right
down my gun barrel.

It was still a little dark, I guess, because I really couldn't see my
fiber-optic sights that well. No matter. I'd checked them seconds earlier
and was sure they were lined up correctly.

So when the eager bird cleared a small group of birches, I sent 2 ounces of Winchester's finest his way. Instead of the expected smash and flop, however, I saw a lurch and run.

What? No way.

Yep. A clean miss at 14 steps. It was not even 5:30 a.m., and my day was
done.

I hope that wasn't my final chance this spring. But if it was, the encounter
was certainly memorable. Excruciating, but memorable.

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