Missouri (Cow Pie!) Turkey Hunt
I have never had to work so hard for a turkey.
While walking out of a small patch of open woods and into the field, I watched a turkey head running across the field away from me; I reminded myself I needed to get my head in the game. About two steps later is when I saw the turkeys, one gobbler in full strut and two others on the other side of the fence I was walking beside, about 100 yards essentially directly in front of me. They were just inside a small patch of woods. The only cover I had available was a little cedar tree, about 2 1/2' tall, behind me in the fence row. I slowly stepped back to the tree, slowly lowered myself to the ground and discovered a two or three day old cow pie had already occupied the best spot. I really had no choice here, and "it weren't no step for a stepper," but I really would have preferred not to sit in the cow crap. I snuggled up to the tree and tried to share the area with the cow pie. I hastily pulled a hen decoy out of my vest, jabbed it in the ground beside me and made a few calls. The birds pretty much ignored me. At some point I checked my watch and it was around noon.
After about an hour, my legs were asleep -- dead asleep, I was sitting in cow crap, and the birds were just beyond the range of my 835. Then two hens came out on my side of the fence about 80 - 90 yards away and started feeding over a rise in the field, which took them out of my sight. The gobblers followed, but the one who was strutting kept coming back to the top of the rise, I think he was interested in my decoy. That boy never stopped strutting. After all the turkeys went over the rise and out of my sight, I popped off my vest, wriggled under the fence (because the grass was taller on that side), and low crawled parallel to the fence toward the turkeys for approximately 5 million yards. (After it was all over, I ranged the distance and I think my range finder is broken because it read only 35 yards, but I swear it was 5 million.) I didn't get to where I wanted to get to because the hens started feeding back my way! I pushed myself with my toes, on my belly, the couple yards back toward the fence and waited. The gobblers were coming! I was also breathing like a 40 year smoker and my back and neck were cramping up from arching my back to see through the grass, but I was determined. Eventually, a bearded boy got within what I considered my range and I couldn't take it anymore -- I shot. All the birds except the one I shot at ran in all different directions. The one I shot at was standing on one leg and looking pretty rough, so I worked the action and let him have another. It was enough and the old boy went down. I ranged that too and it was 65 yards -- that's a bit of a stretch even for those 3 1/2" monsters I carry. When I looked at my watch, the time was just a minute or two after 1:00 pm, but my watch is a few minutes fast, so I was Legal!!!
It was a great day, and a great hunt. 10" beard and 15/16" spurs, so he was a couple years old. It would have been a lot easier on everyone if he would have just came to my calls, but I will remember this hunt for a long time. Especially the cow crap I smelled all the way home. "After the ecstasy, the laundry."