The Third Time is The Charm

Rebecca MorganHunting Stories & Adventures, Spring Fling

“At last, the skies above are blue” …. And he’s not blue anymore.  Hmmm, of whom could I be speaking?  Well of one who finally landed his dream turkey, of course.  What started out as a hunting opportunity soon escalated into somewhat of an obsession.  This is his story through his wife’s eyes…

The time it takes to shoot a turkey is brief, but when you consider the time involved with getting to that point, there’s much more to be said.

This story takes place in Montmorency County, in what is known as big timber turkey country. The journey begins with a short trip back to the necessary scouting, early morning and just before sunset. On occasion, I’ve had the opportunity to join my husband on a few of these ventures.  As I’ve observed from him, the serious hunter goes out frequently, listening intently, checking out various areas for the signs he’s looking for, which are a desirable hen playing hard to get, and a hormonal tom or two.  And how does one begin to know where to look for such antics?  Listen to the characteristic distant gobbling.  The evening before this kill, I went scouting with Gary and before I could get engrossed in my book, which I’d brought along to pass time, I was rudely interrupted by this sound, a sure sign they’d be roosting in the area. At this point, we knew the hunt was on for the next morning.  This was music to Gary’s ears, and I must admit, I can see the allure.  Gary’s friend, Rodd Little, a state turkey calling champ, says “If for some reason tom turkey’s stopped gobbling altogether, I’d stop hunting turkeys.”  Case in point, it’s all about the sass, not the bass.  Anyway, turkey tracks are another obvious sign.  These turkeys tend to be nomads, so just when you think you have it figured out, be ready for a curveball.  If it were so easy, why where’s the fun in that?  Yes, I know, there are a lot of people out there bragging about how easy it is to spot turkeys, but hunting usually does not involve doing so on the side of the road or in one’s yard.  If drive-by hunting were the rage, it would likely be a breeze, not to mention potentially dangerous.

So, back to the day the charm was landed… After previous attempts, overlooking the non-elite toms in favor of a bigger story, the day finally arrives.  To land a tom, you must think like a tom, and it doesn’t hurt to sound like a damsel in distress or the competition, for that matter.  It may not take a village, but if you have an expert turkey caller on hand, such as John Jones (JJ), it sure doesn’t hurt.  This is the point where John enters stage left.  Turkey decoys in place, hunter with gun, both motionless and undistracted, big tom enters stage right.  Now to realize how hard the “motionless” part of this is, you must realize that May is mosquito season!  To make my point even further, Gary’s buddy Ross actually describes the mosquito as Michigan’s state bird!  And to that I must say, he’s not wrong, at least in an unofficial capacity during certain times of the year. 

And now to the shot… And anyone who knows Gary knows that he likes to make a short story long, so I’ll resist this tendency.  Hunter takes a deep breath, whispers a prayer, and the rest is… turkey feathers!  They pose for the usual photo op, rehash the story, celebrate with breakfast in an Atlanta diner, rehash some more, then dress out the turkey.  Plans for the meat?  I think we’ll smoke it, using our smoker, of course.  Congratulations Gary!  It’s nice to see you get a chance to do the hunting for a change.  And thanks to John for making this hunter’s story complete!

Rebecca Morgan