By Mike Twente
-- It was the third morning of the second spring turkey season in Illinois. The sky was clear, the sun was shining, and I was sweating profusely due to the fact I finished another fruitless stalk on a gobbling tom in the nearby valley. I was hunting adjacent to a strip mine area near Rushville, Ill. This was my fourth turkey hunting season. Last season I harvested a young jake in the same area.
On this particular hunt, I had almost given up hope of seeing anything. Then I said a prayer that changed my day for the better. Following the prayer, I broadcasted a few hen yelps with my box call. That's when the action began.
As I rolled my eyes to my left, they magically appeared. Not one but two turkeys were walking toward me. I noticed that both were sporting very long beards. The second turkey was much larger than the first and its majestic beard seemed to drag the ground. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to have a big gobbler like this one headed right at me.
My heart was now pounding like I had a bad case of buck fever. I made sure every move was slow and intentional so the turkeys would not see me in their domain. I waited for the bigger tom to stop and then I planned to pull the trigger, but it did not give me a chance to attempt a clean shot.
Then the other turkey stopped in an opening. It was time to decide which turkey to take. No way was I going to pass up the turkey of a lifetime. In a fraction of a second, I decided to take the first turkey. I moved my aim from its head to its neck.
Boom! I don't even remember squeezing the trigger. The turkey was instantly dead.
When I checked him in at the locker in Rushville, he weighed 22 pounds and sported an 11 1/2-inch bushy beard. I really believe my prayer was answered that day, and I'm glad I have faith in God.