Prowling coyote
Prowling coyote: We weren't the only predators using that creek for cover. This coyote track looked pretty fresh. Outdoor Life Online Editor

Creek bottom

Creek bottom: During the first day of the hunt Terry Drury (left), Chris Comstock (right) and I spent a lot of time creeping through this creek bottom, stopping occasionally to owl hoot and let loose with a series of loud cuts and yelps in hopes of finding a hot bird.

Turkey tracks:

Turkey tracks: We saw plenty of sign in that creek but didn’t lay eyes on any turkeys.

Guide’s vest

Guide’s vest: A cold wind from the north seemed to shut everything down that first day. We couldn’t find any birds to work so the decoy’s stayed in Chris’s vest.

Belly crawl

Belly crawl: The next day Chris and I found two toms and hen working a field. We snuck down a creek bottom and belly crawled through a buffer of woods to intercept them.

Tagged tom

Tagged tom: The ambush worked great. I shot this bird at 35 yards as he walked by our hide. He had a 10-inch beard, weighed 24 pounds and looked to be 2-3 years old.

Happy guide

Happy guide: Here’s the creek that Chris and I used to approach the turkeys in the field. I even got him to carry my bird out for me since I, of course, needed to get pictures for the story. I’ll need to remember that trick when it is time to pack out the quarters on my next moose hunt.

Prowling coyote

Prowling coyote: We weren’t the only predators using that creek for cover. This coyote track looked pretty fresh.
Tagged tom 2
I wasn’t the only hunter in camp to tag a bird that day. Todd Grable’s gobbler, which he took while hunting with Mark Drury, is a total stud. He had inch and a half spurs and was the best turkey taken in the Drury’s camp this spring. Outdoor Life Online Editor

Killer spurs

Killer spurs: The hooks on Todd’s bird are something to behold. Mark Drury says shooting a tom like this is the equivalent of killing a 160-inch-class whitetail.

Safety Sticker

Safety Sticker: Every state has its odd fishing and hunting regulations. In Missouri you’re required by law to put one of these “Be Safe” stickers on top of your gun. Why the Missouri state game department expects hunters to be reading instead of aiming right before the trigger is pulled is a mystery.

Sign of a good camp

Sign of a good camp: Turkeys had been dying with satisfying regularity at the Drury’s camp.

Glorious feathers

Glorious feathers: I once heard someone describe a turkey’s coloration as “brown”, which is about the lousiest description of a turkey’s plumage imaginable. The mix of shimmering copper, green and gold hues makes the turkey one of the handsomest animals in the woods.

Farm pond bass

Farm pond bass: After tagging out, the fish in Terry’s farm ponds beckoned. This 4.5 pound bass hit a crappie jig.

Country fish fry

Country fish fry: All the fish were caught and released. Some of them just happened to be released into Coon Dog’s deep fryer.

Ready to eat

Ready to eat: Terry and Mark (standing) are ready for a platter of Coon Dog’s freshly fried crappie and bluegill filets.

A final tom

A final tom: Bernie Hoerr was the one hunter in camp who hadn’t scored. But Terry and Mark teamed up on our last morning to get Bernie in range of this bird.

OL’s John Snow went into the Missouri woods with the Drury brothers looking for gobblers.