Jim asks if I want to take a drive and of course I say yes. We have our little drive about as we go on to soak up as much peace and beauty as we can before we’re back to the concrete and buildings.
We head north on the gravel road from the farm. As we are coming up to our first turn, something catches our attention strutting in the edge of another corn field that we have permission to hunt.
Whoo! Now that’s a BIG BIRD!
Jim and I are thinking the same thoughts at this time. Make the turn, head on down a ways and let me out of this truck. Jim went down about 1/2 a mile and stopped. I jump out with a boost of energy I didn’t even know I had in me. I put my sunglasses on, stuff my turkey call in my pocket, load the gun and hear Jim saying to me, “Good luck, Baby”.
In an instant I had to become a mountain goat. Down a steep hill to the gully and climb the other side, sliding in the dirt with every planted step grabbing the weeds around me as they are coming right out of the ground.
What’s up with this? The weeds never come out so easy like this at home. A couple more inches and I can grab that tree, I’m up and over.
The deer and turkeys had their own interstate through these woods. I followed the path, under the fence and low and behold, a fallen tree with multiflora rose grown up all about it. I start to call. A few minutes later I have a hen in my lap. She sees me and turns with an alarming putt. I continue to call, hoping that my calls are louder than her siren. She heads a little way back toward the direction of where the tom should be cresting over the hill and goes into the dense brush behind me. I continue to call.
I can see the great fan of the tom coming toward me, about 20 yards out through the weeds and brush. O.K., keep my composure. Think. It’s all about timing now. He’s in range, but I’m not going to make a good shot through all this growth.
Wait, wait, wait, wait. I have to make my move before he sees me, but I have to make sure it’s a clear shot. He’s in full strut, drumming his way toward me. Oh my, he’s going to hear my heart beating out of my chest and see my whole body trembling.
O.K., I can do this. Gun up, safety off, squeeze the trigger—all to be completed in a split second. The time is here, gun up, his head rises, my safety is off and then I squeeze the trigger.
Oh my GOD! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you LORD! With his beak plowed into the powdered soil, he’s down.
As I fumble for the cell phone to call Jim, my body has not stopped shaking. Oh yea, breathe! I’m phoning Jim as I’m walking out to the huge bird on the ground. Oh honey, he’s HUGE! Yes, he’s not going anywhere, but in some marinade and on our grill.
It’s a double-bearded tom, 10 1/2 and 7 1/2 inches, with 1 1/4-inch spurs (they hook). The bird when weighed will tug the scales to 28 1/4 pounds. It’s the heaviest bird I’ve ever had to carry out. But that’s quite all right by me.