Photography courtesy of Lowell Washburn, all rights reserved.
We all know that turkey hunting success — or failure — can spin on a dime. My son Matt and I each got a good reminder of that this morning. Sequestered in a favorite woodland, I heard my first gobble while it was still pitch black at 5:25. The tom was soon answered by a second gobbler and, as daylight increased, the chorus was joined by a third bird. I could plainly see two of the toms strutting on the limb. At full light, the birds flew down with the closest gobbler landing about 25 yards distant. A second tom touched down about 50 yards away. With a hot gobbler standing on both sides, I couldn’t have been in a better position. That is, until multiple hens began to glide in to each tom. The outcome was dismally predictable. The hens headed out in opposite directions, of course, taking the gobblers with them. Turkey hunting spins on a dime.
Hunting to the north of me, Matt only heard two distant gobbles at daylight. As the morning wore on, the depressing sounds of silence continued. The fact that it was an absolutely perfect morning only served to make the situation seem even worse. Then, at 9:30, a bird suddenly appeared. Actually, it turned out to be three birds — all mature gobblers. The turkeys marched directly in and, within seconds, were standing at the decoy. One of the toms was clearly dominant over the others, and Matt could see that he had a fine set of needle sharp spurs. Drawing the bow, Matt took aim and dropped the string. The gobbler jumped straight into the air, fell back to the ground, and that was it. From deepest valley to highest peak, turkey hunting can spin on a dime.