By Mike Giles
The Meridian Star
After a long season of calling up gobblers for other folks I decided to try my luck on a late season tom, but had I waited too late to give the old Kingpin another try? Well there was only one thing to do and that was to don my favorite Mossy Oak gear, pick up my Remington Special Purpose turkey gun and load up some of Winchester’s red hot Longbeard XR shotgun shells and head to the woods.
Arriving on a knoll overlooking a one acre strutting zone before daylight, I was tuned in to nature’s voices and listening for the first whippoorwill call, owl hoot, and hopefully a lusty gobble from the king of the southern woods. But this bird wouldn’t be easy to fool as he’d beaten all comers and enticed a harem of hens all the while.
Suddenly the shrill cry of a lonesome whippoorwill pierced the still early morning air and awakened my senses to the smell of an impending thunderstorm bearing down on the area. I waited expectantly for that owl hoot and lusty gobble, but they never came as the night melted away to the dawn of a new day.
Finally I could stand it no longer as a chorus of crows rang out across the hills and hollows with nary a gobble in response. I did what I had to do, though I knew better. I crossed the small hill patch and moved swiftly yet silently until I reached the peak of a ridge that dropped off into a hollow that was intersected by five hollows.
It was here that the old bird had roosted all season long, never straying in one direction or the other more than a couple hundred yards. Some mornings he belted out gobble after gobble and others only a few as he gathered his favorite harem of hens.
Five after six came and not a gobble to be heard. He should’ve been gobbling by now if he’d lived through the last onslaught of hunters, but I couldn’t be sure. I was in his bedroom now, too close to send out my favorite owl hoot, but I had to do something as time was slipping away.
This time I used my mouth to send out a three series of yelps to the north, west and finally to the south. No sooner had I finished my last series of yelps than I heard the flop, flop, flop, of wings very quietly signaling the gobbler’s descent from his roost.
“He’s coming now.” Could it be possible that he’d heard my sweet pleadings and simply pitched off of his oak throne? I couldn’t take a chance so I quickly walked back up the trail and sat down and got ready for action. Fifteen minutes went by and nary a sight nor sound of the bird was seen or heard. Crows flew close by and still nothing happened, so I pulled out my Preston Pittman Crow call and sounded out a raucous crow rant.
Goooobbbblllllleeeeeee! thundered the grand old monarch from the foot of the hill, perhaps 70 yards away. He was coming now and I was ready with my 12 gauge aimed down the trail.
Ten minutes later he’d still not shown up so I pulled out my Paul Meek Striker and purred softly four times. Goooobbbblllllleeeeeee! The gobbler was only about 25 yards from me, right over the rise and almost knocked me for a loop. I dropped the slate, aimed my gun in his direction and waited.
Sixty seconds later the gobbler rose up over the crest of the ridge and ducked under a huckleberry bush headed in my direction, only 20 yards away. Just as he squeezed between two huckleberry bushes I eased my gun a few inches to the right and squeezed the trigger as the bead touched the gobbler’s head.
Ka-boom, roared the shotgun and a potent mix of Winchester Longbeard XR pellets struck home and the old gobbler collapsed instantly! A rush of adrenalin filled my being as I sprinted to the gobbler and admired his beautiful plumage and relished the challenge of matching wits with the old tom one last time. There’s just nothing quite like a triumphant morning spent in the springtime woods making memories with Mossy Oak, Winchester Longbeard XR shell and my trusty Remington turkey slayer.
Contact Mike Giles at
601-917-3898 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org