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A Lowdown Trick for Shut-Mouthed Toms

BrothersBy Shelly Brothers

-- I prefer bowhunting for deer, but love turkey hunting with a shotgun. Back in the Missouri’s 2006 spring turkey season, my husband and I slept in on the second Saturday morning due to a nasty, windy and wet morning. Around 10:30, the rain died down enough for us to decide to try it anyway.

The toms had been strutting pretty regularly on my uncle’s 310-acre farm that joined ours. His farm consists of several rolling hills on each side of about a 3/4-mile long valley used for cattle pasture, so you have to keep your eyes peeled for turkeys around each nook and cranny and every low spot.

We took off in front of our home and crossed over the first hillside and saw nothing. Dave started to say something to me, and right behind him I saw two toms in full strut and a third tom breeding a hen.

I said "Get down," and we both dropped to the ground.

We’d located the toms, but now what? They were in a small dip on the downhill slope of the hillside, about 100 yards away. The hillside was wide open pasture, making it more difficult.

We both knew what needed to be done. The toms weren’t responding to any calls, so we did what we do best: We MADE it happen.

We started belly crawling and kept as low to the ground as we could. As we started down the slope of the hill, we started picking up a little speed because of the wet grass. I was in raingear with an elastic-band waistline. It was a bit too big for me, so the more I scooted, the farther down my pants went. I eventually crawled all the way out of those stupid pants!

I yelled at David, "Wait, wait! Stop!" He turned around and said "WHAT?" I don’t know what was going through my husband’s mind when he turned back and saw me rolling over on my back to pull my pants up from my knees

I finally got back into my apparel, and we continued sneaking up on those turkeys. They were surprisingly unspooked, so we were able to crawl within 30 yards of them. 

The only thing hiding me was a wild pokeweed. It was enough, though. We shouldered our shotguns while still on our bellies, and I said to David, "You take the one on the left, and I’ll take the one on the right." 

On my count of three, we pulled the trigger. My bird weighed around 26 pounds and had a 10 ½-inch beard. David’s weighed 24 pounds and sported an 11-inch beard. 

I love turkey hunting!

-- Shelly Brothers

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