Meridian Star

March 21, 2014

Opening day triumph

By Mike Giles
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN — Waiting in the pitch-black, pre-dawn morning, three turkey hunters were filled with expectations of the coming dawn and new season. As the first redbird whistled a melodious tune the woods began to wake up. The excited hunters were tempered by the fact that the gobblers hadn’t been talking much in the week preceding the hunt. Youthful exuberance and adrenaline can overcome a lot of things, but the gobblers would have to cooperate for this to be a successful hunt.

    About 6:45 a hunter sent out an owl hoot about a half mile to the west of the property. He was followed up by another hunter to the northwest owling as well. A few minutes later a gobbler belted out a gobble far to our west, seemingly too far to hunt. Relocating a short distance to a knoll I sent out an owl hoot and another bird gobbled in response. And the game was on!

    As we reached the crest of the hill the bird gobbled some 150 yards to the west and we quickly set up for battle with Daniel Giles beside me on the tree and Justin Giles about 15 feet to our left. Before sitting down I sent out a few love notes and yelps on my Albert Paul box call but drew no response. If the gobbler came to my calls he’d be in range at 30 yards when he came over the hill.

    A few minutes later I yelped, purred and clucked on my Paul Meek copper slate pot call. I used the slate side of the call and it really sounded sweet. Silence followed with not a peep from the turkeys. Though it seemed like a long time, our hunt had only been going a few minutes when things heated up. Justin heard something walking in the woods to our left, just out of sight.

    Pffft-doom, ffft-doom, sounded a gobbler drumming just over the crest of the ridge. “Get ready Daniel, there’s a gobbler just over the ridge,” I whispered quietly. Minutes later a fired up tom belted out a gobble that almost scared the wits out of us. As the drumming continued the tension mounted.

    Geobbble, obble, came another thunderous response to my sweet love calls. Seconds later the top of a fan appeared over the rise almost in slow motion, as the bird strutted slowly to the crest. When his head and neck cleared the rise I told Daniel to take him when he had a clear shot. As the old tom inched closer, I was shocked to see another fan materialize about 5 yards behind the first bird.

    Ka-boom, roared Daniel’s Berretta shotgun and the gobbler collapsed instantly. Only silence followed, with no sign of the other bird flying or a shot from Justin. Glancing to my left I saw him aiming his gun but not firing so I cut down on a yelp and the other gobbler ran back and proceeded to spur and fight his downed companion. As he jumped up on top of the first bird he was spurring him and trying to keep his balance when he stretched towards the sky.

    Ka-boom, roared Justin’s 12 gauge as that bird bit the dust also. From his vantage point Justin had seen both birds, and watched them gobble in unison, sounding like a single bird, as they answered my calls.

    Our opening day hunt had become a very memorable one that ended with both cousins harvesting mature gobblers. Daniel Giles had collected his first bird, a triumph in itself, and Justin harvested his first bird of the year. It just doesn’t get any better than taking gobblers, making memories and passing on our outdoors heritage on an opening day turkey hunt. Dare to dream and magical memories may follow.


    Contact  Mike Giles at 601-917-3898 or e-mail him at