The Little Gal and I just got back again. Tonight it almost all worked out. We headed out in the afternoon and set up our decoys on the edge a meadow that we know is always full or turkeys. We found a big dead tree to sit behind and use for a blind. The Little Gal’s gun rested on the log, and I sat with my calls behind her. We made ourselves comfortable and prepared to for action.
We sat for about 15 minutes and heard turkeys up at the top of the meadow. There was a tom that gobbled, followed by a hen that bocked. I had my slate ready, and mimicked her, cutting her off. The tom gobbled again, the hen bocked, and I bocked, cutting her off. We did this three times and then she was silent. We sat and waited.
About twenty minutes went by and we heard a gobble. It was still at the top of the meadow. The gobble again was followed by a hen, and we repeated our display from before. This time, the calling went back and forth about six times and then silence. Again we sat in absolute silence waiting. Across to our right, we saw four cow elk eating. They had no idea we were there. We sat, not moving, not making a sound. The last thing we wanted to do was spook the elk, much less those turkeys. If those elk noticed us, they would have a good view. From their angle, we were right out in the open. We sat as still as we could, looking up the meadow.
Then I saw one. There she was. A hen. I whispered to the Little Gal, “Do you see her?” She nodded her head and then sat motionless. We sat there like statues behind that dead tree and waited. We saw the one and then two more hens. We waited and then saw another couple of birds. Where was the tom? Another hen. Then he presented himself in full strut! There he was a big beautiful bird. The birds were still a good 200 yards off. I whispered to the Little Gal “wait until he gets between the tree and the decoys”. he nodded her head and then sat still.
We sat again. This had to be the most stillness my body has felt in its life. The hens made their way toward us. They were not calling, they were not purring. They went down a little dip, and out of sight. The tom strutted behind them, and then he was out of sight. The Little Gal looked at me worried. I whispered “Be patient. They are going to come. Just wait.”
Soon the hens began to emerge. One, two, three… until there were ten. Then we could see the white of that amazing Merriam fan. Slowly the tom strutted out of the dip. He was HUGE. He was gorgeous! The hens were spread out across the width of the meadow, and it looked as though they may make their way right past us to the other end without giving us a good shot position for their master. The Little Gal squirmed a little. I knew she was thinking the same thing. I whispered to her again. “Just wait”.
Suddenly the tom noticed our decoys on the edge of the meadow. He gobbled at his hens and they scattered. They scattered in their flock right over toward the decoys. The tom strutted slowly behind them, making his way in our direction. Our hearts leapt in anticipation.
The hens came to the decoys. The tom was behind them but was in range. He was strutting and turning. When I knew the shot was good, I whispered to the Little Gal. “When his head comes up, shoot”. The hens didn’t hear a thing. They continued toward the decoys and I waited in anticipation. I waited, and I waited. Then I nudged the Little Gal. Finally, she shot!
The tom leapt into the air and turned and spun. The hens all popped their heads up and then the whole group of them took off. They scurried up the hill, through the oak brush and then they were gone. The Little Gal and I jumped up. Both of us with our legs asleep from being still for such a long time nearly fell over from excitement. The Little Gal began to cry. She said, “I’m the worst shot ever!”. I assured her she was not the worst shot. I told her that everyone has a miss. Heck, with all that excitement and pressure, I may have missed too. She and I waited until the feeling came back in our legs. We then gathered up our decoys and I made sure I had all my calls. We headed out to the road. Mom and daughter. So close, so close!!!