Lea and I just got back from turkey hunting. We found a spot where the turkeys had crossed earlier in the day. Fresh tracks in the silt. We set up there, near some willows, and waited and called a little bit just to see if we would hear anything.
We heard thunder over the ridge to the north of us.
We waited there about 30 minutes. Then we heard a gobble across the valley to the south. Then there was another gobble. It was another bird. Same direction, just a little further away. Lea took the gobbler and shook it real good. The two toms gobbled back. We gobble back and forth to them from across the valley about 6 or 7 times, and then they quit so we did too. After a little bit, we heard another gobble from over that direction. We decided to beat it over there.
We took off across the field, and through a ditch to a level spot and waited. We heard it again, but it was higher on the hill than we were. We decided to get up a little higher on the hill we had come to so we could be on their level and see them easier. We hiked up and stopped and clucked then waited. There was the gobble again. It was up and over the top of the hill. We took off up the hill as quietly as two little ladies can. We stopped along the way to listen and make sure he was still there.
Each time we heard him, we would continue our sneak. When we neared the top of the ridge we could hear him. He was RIGHT THERE. I told Lea to go ahead of me so she would be able to have a clear shot.
We peaked over the top of the hill and couldn’t see anything beyond some downed trees, but we could hear him gobbling. We could also hear some hens. Once again we waited. I clucked to them the way they were clucking, and they just continued on with their business. We snuck up a little further and hid behind a tree.
Lea saw the tom peak his blue head up over the lip of the hill, but just as quickly as she saw it, it was gone. We stood still. He gobbled again. This time he had moved a little left. We stood quietly. Lea was ready to let him have it at any moment. Next thing we knew a hen popped up over the hill about 30 feet to the left of us. She headed north and bock, bock, bocked the whole way across the top, right past us and then down the hill she went, right about where we had come up.
We knew the tom was nearby but never saw him. With her moving across so close we stayed as still as we could and kept our eyes peeled for him. Nothing. We sat motionless. Next thing we knew he was gobbling behind us but was about 50 feet further away than where the hen had crossed.
We waited and then slowly turned to look. He gobbled again but was already making his way down the hill we had just come up. Lea and I looked at each other thinking what to do next. Then we heard yet another gobble about 100 yards up from us on the ridge. He was loud and strong so we decided to take after him. We stalked him. He would gobble and we would go, and then we would wait. We clucked to him. He would gobble again, and we would go. Then wait. We clucked again and he gobbled. We followed him and a hen that we would hear occasionally across the ridge for about 400 yards.
Finally, we got to about 50 feet from him!!! That is when the excitement began. The lightning came. As quickly as we had heard those couple of toms fire up about an hour before, this tom stopped. We stood again and waited. Then we heard him. He was at the bottom of that hill that we had climbed to find him. He obviously was making a b-line for someplace other than the ridge because the storm was coming and fast.
The lightning popped and snapped, and the thunder rumbled. We decided we needed to get ourselves and our 12 and 20 gauge lightning rods off of that ridge as well. We made our way down off that hill as quickly and quietly as we could with the lighting popping all around. When we crossed that ditched again and just when we got to the other side the lightning struck up on the hill behind us and made our hair stand on end.
We made our way to the edge the meadow and looked to see if it was safe to cross. Then the rain came. We saw three turkeys on the other side of the meadow and knew we could not just run out into the meadow now. We stood in the trees and scanned. On the East side of the meadow, three more turkeys came scurrying out in a hurry. They went straight across and to the other side. Then three more to the left. Same thing. They all made their way to the North East end of the meadow and up into the trees.
We knew we could come back tomorrow and get them, and we didn’t want to booger them out now. We waited and waited with the rain pouring down on us until they were all gone. Then we headed out to the West. We got down toward the end of the meadow on the opposite side of where we had seen them and then crossed as quickly as we could. Halfway there, it began to hail. The two of us got pelted and then were in the trees before we knew it. We walked as quickly as we could back to the truck, back to the highway. It looked like it had snowed an inch after that hail piled up. Once we were safely back in the truck we both laughed out loud. Sooo close!!!
What an adventure!!!
Mia Anstine is an outdoor writer, licensed outfitter, hunting guide, life coach, keynote speaker, and range safety officer, firearms instructor, and archery instructor. She is the founder of MAC Outdoors and Host of the MAC Outdoors Podcast.
Mia Anstine strives to encourage others to get outside, hunt, fish, shoot, and survive life with others in a positive way.
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