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Bovine Intervention

GrayBy David Gray

-- Opening day three years ago, the cows helped this boy go home with a turkey. I had been given permission to hunt some property called Brown Creek. After scouting this ground, I found it to be 80 percent cattle pasture surrounded by woods. One end had some hillsides that had been cutover, and that was the place where I found turkey signs two weeks before the season opened.

The birds had been using a cow path to come down the hill through the brush. You could see where they had been feeding at the bottom of the hill along the edge of the pasture. I located a spot across from that area about 70 yards away to set up. As I continued scouting, I saw several hens when I returned to that spot. I could hardly wait!!

This was going to be my second season of turkey hunting. Something happened to me the first year; I filled my Tennessee tag the first two weeks of the season. My wife had been telling people I had gone crazy over turkeys. I found an article about turkey fever and read it to her because it was obvious I had all the symptoms. My only hope was another spring in the turkey woods. The fever was so bad it had me making box calls during the summer and fall. It took several months to tune them; but two were in my vest ready for opening day.
I arrived at Brown Creek a good 45 minutes before shooting time. I walked to my spot and waited. My plan seemed to be working, I could hear two different gobblers in front of me. The sun came up, and I soon saw birds working through the brush. Then a coyote trotted through that area and two birds flew up into a tree.
Next the cows start working though the same stuff. I had forgotten about the cows. I'm in a cow pasture. Within 30 minutes, cows are walking around my decoys and staring at them like it was a new gate. A few were brave enough to nudge the decoys with their noses. I didn't know what to do. Should I move? I decided to sit still. Finally, most of them moved on.
Around 7:45, I yelped on my home-made call and a gobbler answered. The turkey gobbled every time I called. The bird came out of the woods, down the hill, through the cut over brush behind me and because of where I was seated I could not see a thing; but the bird kept gobbling and coming. Then the action went silent.

I knew the bird was close, but I didn't know why he'd shut up. Several minutes passed. I almost stood up to look. Then I noticed a cow with its head down and eyes bugged and ears forward, staring in the direction from which the last gobble had come. It was the same look the cows gave my decoys. I realized the cow was watching the tom strut in the open pasture. That's why the gobbling had stopped. When the bird strutted close enough to my decoys for me and the cow to see, I steadied my nerves and took the shot.

I have on numerous occasions enjoyed divine assistance but opening day at Brown Creek I experienced some bovine assistance.

David Gray
Ridgely, Tennessee

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