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I thought about all the time spent studying their feeding routine, their ways in early mornings, and the frustration of not seeing a big tom at close range, just jakes. I'm thinking this is going to be another fouled hunt my wife Becky has to put up with. This is not going to end up this way, she has been trying to hard this year.
Last year she got her first turkey, a Jake. She had goals of a bigger tom this year and being a good hunter she already held back for a trophy by turning down smaller turkeys. Patiently waiting for the bull of the woods! I'm not going to let things end up this way; we're trying for this tom. One thing I've learned, toms don't really like going towards another tom first thing out of the tree. So pulling out my slate I used a cackle and purr combination. Wham, he gobbles, things are happening now! Every five minutes I repeat the call as we hear our competitor gobbling away just below us. By 5:50 a.m. the tom stops gobbling. Is he stalking towards us, or more than likely, with too many calls around him, did he leave? With this thought and hens cackling about 150 yards below us, I'm thinking we need to dash below and maybe catch them on the other side of the rise as they're leaving, but on second thought that is usually unsuccessful.
As this is all going through my mind, I'm starting the first phase of panic mode! I looked at Becky lying by a 600 lb. round hay bale all dressed up in her camo, and with the patients of an Apache - a virtue I wish I had, and have only begun to learn by hunting with my wife. I decided to pull-up my binnocs and take one more look through the surrounding area before the dash that jumps the birds happens again. I'm making my 180 degree visual scan when about 2/3rd's through my heart stops. I'm looking right at the tom, and he's looking right back at our location with nothing but that beautiful head of his sticking over the rise about 80 yards below us. Whispering to Becky, "there's your tom," After further explaining where he was, she pulled her 3" magnum loaded with number 4 shot up to her shoulder. Hoping first that he'll come in, second that he's big enough, and third that he doesn't detect anything.
After about five minutes the tom starts coming in, "things are happening now," and yes, he's a big tom! He's down to 50 yards away and coming directly towards us. He walks out of my vision at 6:10 a.m. so I turn my eyes to Becky. All of a sudden "bam!" The 3" goes off, I jump up expecting a bird flopping, but no, nothing's moving. Becky waited until he was only 25 yards out and dropped him in his tracks! With grins on our faces we walked to her bird. I thought about how lucky a man I am to have this lady in my life, not only is she my best friend, and hunting partner, but my teacher. She taught me to wait until you have that "for sure" shot, and that patients is the best tool for hunting. If it doesn't happen today, there is tomorrow. There is also great satisfaction when that gun goes off in your camp and you're wondering how your competitor feels not even knowing you were there.
Thank you Becky for adding another great memory to my hunting file, and guys, take someone you love hunting. You may learn a few things and the best part, if you keep your mouth shut, they'll think you already knew these facts.