I love it when a plan ... falls apart. It just makes it that much sweeter when you make a new plan, get busted twice and still manage to bloody up the tailgate.
As planned, we started the morning on the ground in front of a long narrow food plot. We knew the sun was going to be highlighting us so we brushed in, settled down and waited for daybreak.
Soon after first light, we heard the first gobble in the pines off to our left. The swirling wind was blowing 25 miles, however, making it difficult to pinpoint sound direction.
Buster got out his slate call and started working it. A distant gobble answered almost immediately. We sat and called occasionally and heard multiple gobbles. A hen was doing a little talking, too, and it sounded like she was still on the roost.
When nothing happened by 8:00, Buster and I were relaxed and whispering when a hen pitched down 15 yards directly in front of us. She was headed out onto the plot when she spied our decoy and wanted nothing to do with it. She turned and headed the other way as fast as her legs would carry her.
That was fun and no big loss since we weren’t after a hen anyway. Minutes later, still being careless and still talking, we couldn’t believe it when she reappeared on the plot. She saw us almost immediately and hustled outta there.
With turkeys obviously on the move, Buster decided to call again, and we heard gobbles from three places. For an hour and a half, they talked back and forth.
Buster moved around, tried different calls, loud calls and soft calls, but it seemed like they just shut up and hung up.
We decided to cut the distance, so we snuck across the road into the chop where we had heard the last gobble. We barely got stopped when Buster grabbed my jacket and said, “There he is! Don’t move!”
I clicked off the safety and was ready to shoot, but it was too late. Busted again!
We stood there for a few minutes trying to decide what to do. Were we done? Buster had to go to work soon anyway.
Then Buster grabbed my jacket again and said, “Don’t move! There’s a gobbler right behind us strutting behind that oak.”
Moving nothing but my eyes, I glanced over and caught a glimpse of the tom, fan out.
Buster called a few times with no results. I sat down under a tree in case he decided to come to Buster’s calling. I figured the bird was probably with the hen we had seen earlier and the two of them would eventually come around the big wood pile to go back to the food plot.
Meanwhile, Buster crawled across the road, calling the whole time. He eased into the timber and back out onto the road, crawling and calling. I could hear turkeys talking occasionally (although no gobbles) and watched Buster while trying to my eyes peeled for the lovesick tom. Buster was trying so hard.
I watched him climb the ladder of a nearby treestand to get a better vantage point. I could tell he saw the birds as he began to call again. I helped out with a few soft calls of my own.
That was all the bird could stand. He fired off a gobble, letting us know he was still interested.
Buster motioned for me to head over toward the treestand.
We crawled through every wait-a-minute briar that we looked like we’d been sorting bobcats, but we made it to a spot where we could set up.
A hen popped out almost immediately. That’s why the tom wouldn’t come. Then we see him strut again.
Buster gave a few cutts on his slate call, and another hen popped up. We were 30 yards away, and I was ready.
One more little purr from Buster and the tom poked his head up. Buster was in the process of saying “Shoot him!” when I squeezed the trigger.
Boom! I rolled him!
“You got him!” Buster yelled. “Good shot!”
We had worked our hides off, but it was totally worth it. I love this sport, and it’s even better when you can share it with someone who has that passion.