When I reached Missouri, I found a classic spring low-pressure system camped
out over the state. In other words, we were in for rain and wind. Lightning,
too. Even some hail.
The first day, I sat in a blind with Steve Stoltz -- world-champion caller
and Knight & Hale pro-staffer -- for almost five hours. The result? Two hens
observed. No gobbles.
The second day, the rain stopped long enough for Stoltz and I to get on some
gobbling birds. Trouble was, they were across a flooded creek, and we never
seemed to get the right setup on them. Mark down another zero.
The third day was even nastier than the first, so we again sat in a blind
till we couldn't stand it. After we could take no more, we grabbed a hot
breakfast and then drove around the countryside, hoping to spot a gobbler on
one of the properties Stoltz could hunt.
At about 12:30 p.m., we struck pay dirt when we glimpsed three longbeards
easing down a long pasture point. With no time to lose -- hunting in
Missouri ends at 1 p.m. -- we bailed out of the truck and raced toward a
timbered bottom. Along the way, we actually spotted another gobbler
strutting for two hens.
Stoltz and I set up as close as we dared, and Stoltz uttered some soft
yelping. Within seconds, the hens broke, and the gobbler was in range. At
12:45 p.m., I pulled the trigger and ended what seemed like the longest,
wettest Missouri turkey hunt of all time.