Doubling Down On Turkeys

Robert WellerHunting Stories & Adventures

What have you been doing since the close of the last deer season? Maybe you’ve been doing a  little rabbit or coyote hunting? Maybe you’ve hunkered down in your nice warm house for the  winter. Well a spring turkey hunt is a great reason to head back to the woods and get that blood  flowing again and of course being in the woods again is good for the soul. As we approach  turkey season each spring, my thoughts always seem to drift towards the fond memories of  turkey hunting with my good friend, Andy. Of course one of my favorite memories was the one  where I bagged one of these magnificent birds for my first time. 

It had been a few years since we had first decided to try turkey hunting when Andy and I had  drawn tags and hunted together in the north eastern part of the lower peninsula of Michigan  near his family’s cabin. We had a good time but neither of us was very experienced at turkey  hunting so despite our best efforts we returned home empty handed that spring. A couple more  years had gone by when Andy and I decided to put in for a hunt together again, only this time  we were hunting Southern Michigan on Andy’s family’s property. Andy had gotten a nice 29 lb. tom behind his parents’ house the year before. So, we decided to try our luck on his family’s  property again. Luckily we drew tags and made plans to hunt together that spring. We had  been out a few times that season but hadn’t had much success. We thought maybe, we should  try and cover more ground. We had learned how to locate turkeys by using a crow call while it  was still dark. So we decided to try what we were calling a “run and gun” approach. We met  early one morning at his place and walked to the edge of the woods behind his house. We were  both hopeful that we might locate some birds on the roost and sneak in to set up within 100  yards or so before they flew down. With much anticipation of hearing a turkey answer me, I  blew some blasts on my crow call and we listened. Nothing, not one gobble. We walked a little  further down the lane and hit the crow call again. Still we heard nothing. So the run and gun  was on. We hustled back to the house and jumped in Andy’s truck. We drove to his Dad’s  house and tried the crow call from the field behind the house hoping to hear a gobble come from  the woods. Again, we stood there in disbelief, as we didn’t hear a single turkey sound off. We  were determined to find some turkeys, so we jumped back in the truck and headed down the  road to some property owned by Andy’s uncle. But, again there were no answers to our  calls. Shaking our heads and discouraged, we climbed back in the truck. What now? Our hot  little idea of the run and gun approach wasn’t so hot after all. We were driving back to Andy’s  house when we noticed the sun was starting to come up. We knew we had to get somewhere  and get set up before daylight if we were going to have any chance of seeing a bird. Andy said  he was certain that he had heard turkeys behind his house a day or two before so we decided to  walk out back again and just set some decoys on the edge of the field. As we headed back to  the woods, I decided to try the crow call one last time so we stopped in the lane and I gave a  couple of short blasts. The hair on my neck stood on end when we heard not one, but multiple  tom turkeys sound off and in a couple different directions too. It sounded like we had a pair of  turkeys to the east and another one or two to the south. The ones to the east sounded closer  so we quickly decided to try and get set up on the edge of the lane. Just to get a better sense of  exactly where those birds were, I blasted my trusty crow call again. But this time the only  turkeys responding were to the south. We changed our plan and decided to hurry to the edge of  the field at the end of the lane. We grabbed the decoys from our packs and placed them within  range of the wood line where we intended to sit. As we started to get settled into our positions, I  hit the crow call one last time to get one more bearing on where the birds might be coming  from. To our surprise the birds to the east answered back and it sounded as if they were right on top of us. There was no time to grab the decoys. We hurried into the edge of the woods  behind us and noticed we were on the edge of a low spot full of water. There wasn’t time to try  and get around it and there certainly wasn’t a dry spot to sit. The only option for any cover was  to get our feet wet. So, standing in water near the top of our boots, we each picked a tree to  hide behind and stood with our shotguns held vertically in front of us. We were about 5 yards  apart so we could see and hear each other as we peeked around our trees and watched for the  approaching turkeys. Andy slipped a diaphragm call in his mouth and started to cluck, cut and  yelp like a hen. Almost instantly a group of three hens came running through the woods headed  right for us. Now the race was on, the race to see if the hens would bust us before the toms got  there. Andy stopped calling and we both stood as still as statues. The hens passed by on my  left side and as they walked away, I noticed movement in front of me. It was a branch on a  small tree that was down about 25 yards away. The branch bent to the ground then rebounded  and bent to the ground a second time. There were two long beards in pursuit of those hens that  had just passed by us. I looked at Andy and carefully showed him 3 fingers as I whispered, “on  the count of three”. Andy knew exactly what the plan was. We looked at each other and  nodded our heads, one, two, And THREE! We both came from behind our trees and the shots  rang through the woods like cannon fire. It sounded like one shot. We had both fired at the  same time. Andy shot the bird on the right and I shot the bird on the left. We had just doubled  on two beautiful long beard tom turkeys. Quickly we made sure the birds weren’t going  anywhere and then we celebrated. While laughing, Andy looked at me and said “did that really  just happen?” I said “I think it did” we laughed some more and picked up our birds. We could  not believe it. After a very rocky start to our morning, we had successfully filled both our tags at  once. As we walked back to his house with our birds slung over our shoulders we talked to each other about the events of that morning calling our two for one deal “Double Trouble”. What  an amazing adventure it had been. When we got back to the house and celebrated with a nice  breakfast, then cleaned our game. After multiple years and failed attempts, I was finally on the  board with my first turkey. Not only was it a very nice bird but I got to share that experience with  Andy. He and I have had many adventures over the years and when time permits us to hunt  together we still have adventures in the woods to this day. Having a good friend like Andy to  spend time with in the woods has made my life richer in many ways. We’ve shared success  and we’ve shared defeat. But no matter what the outcome, it’s always an adventure. As turkey  season approaches, consider hunting with a friend this year. I hope you have an adventure. If  you’re lucky, one of you might get a crack at a nice bird. If you’re really lucky maybe you’ll have  “Double Trouble” too!!  

As always, Happy Hunting, Good luck in the woods and God Bless.

Robert Weller
Latest posts by Robert Weller (see all)