Slaton_gobblerNo longer was I going to just soft call. I was going to lay it on a little harder. Mix some yelps and cutts. As I did, I could see the strutter through the trees sidling my way. A few hens drifted toward me as well. But it wasn’t until I hit the gobbler tube, that the big boy strolled forward to within 60 yards. I could see him clearly, but he was too far.

Little did I realize, there was a huge, deep ravine with water running through the bottom between us. The hens got bored (or unwilling to deal with another male) and headed to the greenfield away from where Mark and John sat. The gobbler reluctantly followed and despite responding to another gobble from my shaker, the group was soon gone and the morning hunt kaput!!

Like an idiot, I returned for more punishment that afternoon. “I’m going to sit right under that damn roost tree,” I decided. On the way, we spotted three huge toms strutting in a field where SHOT Business editor, Slaton White, had toppled a longbeard earlier. I couldn’t go there without Rusty, but a plan for my last morning was suddenly forming. Greg Gatto, after taking his first wild turkey ever the day before with a jake, upped his prize by scoring on a huge tom this day as well. The boy should bet on horses he has such incredible luck!!!

That evening, as I watched a bearded hen mill around me, the turkeys slid into the woods where I sat. But they were all hens—and all across the property line. They had come in from yet a different direction. And just as the woods grew almost too dark to see, I saw a big bird fumble skyward to a tree 60 yards away from where I sat near the tom’s roost from the previous evening.

I was wondering if that one was the longbeard when a thunderous gobble cracked the evening air. It was him. For the fourth time in two days, he had beaten me. And as I eased out in the darkness, I wondered if it would be worth it to let him drub me on my last morning too, or if I should angle for those three untested toms I had spotted at the other property. I had a decision to make.

(Photo: Slaton with his prize.)