No one holds the wild turkey in higher regard than I do, but there are times when sheer exasperation gets the best of me. Take last Saturday for instance. A long-awaited hunt with my 15-year-old daughter Amy was at hand and we were instantly confronted with a pig-headed longbeard that decided to quickly close the gap on our setup—from behind. He’d gobble hard whenever I called at him, but he had absolutely no intention of circling out in front of us to where Amy could shoot him. Time moved excruciatingly slow and although Amy sat rock still with the 20 gauge resting on her knee, I knew that the showdown could not last forever. At the 20-minute mark, the gobbler got quiet and I knew for sure that he was either coming or going. Wrong! I eased around our setup tree for peek behind us. There he was—25 yards and looking hard. With enough screening cover at our backs, I managed to slip back into position without hearing the dreaded alarm putts of a fleeing gobbler. The standoff continued. After another 15 minutes of dead silence, it was time to do something—even if it turned out to be wrong. Craning my head around the tree for another look behind us, I was stunned to see the gobbler still standing there.
“Okay, Amy,” I whispered to my daughter. “What you’re going to have to do is roll over on your stomach, get to your knees and then stand up and shoot the bird.”
“Yeah, right dad,” she said sarcastically. “He’ll see us for sure.”
Making certain to keep our setup tree and screening cover between the gobbler and us, we made our move. Miraculously, the bird was still there as we gained our feet.
“Okay, kid,” I whispered. “Use my arm as rest, put the bead on his head and shoot him.”
Which is exactly what she did.
“What can I tell ya, dad,” Amy said matter-of-factly. “Girls rule.”
Her second-ever spring gobbler weighed 18 pounds and sported a 9-inch beard. We’ve put him in the freezer for Thanksgiving.—Gerry Bethge