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The Crow-Magnum Age

I stumbled to the top of an Alabama ridge and yelped, hoping to get a clear fix on the faint gobble that had honored my calling minutes earlier.

There it was, from deep in a timbered bottom. Better, the bird had moved closer.

I cut what I figured was half the distance to the turkey and tried again. The bird responded on cue, now just 200 yards away. I slipped 40 steps closer and found a tree.

Within minutes, the gobbler was just 80 yards from my setup, hammering at about every third or fourth series of calls I sent his way. And then it happened.

First, I heard what sounded like the distress call of a young crow. Within minutes, every crow in southern Alabama was circling a stand of pines 50 yards from the gobbler, creating an aural firestorm.

At first, the longbeard did nothing, even though I half expected him to gobble at the noise. But as the ruckus continued for several more minutes, the turkey started to alarm-putt.

"No way," I thought. "He can't come all that way only to be chased away by crows."

Apparently I was wrong. The longbeard never made another peep, even after the crow commotion subsided. I was stunned. Crows have always helped me kill turkeys by prompting shock gobbles or dive-bombing unseen strutters. But that day, they cost me one.

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