Third Shot was the Charm
(Photo courtesy of MidwayUSA)
This was a fairly routine turkey hunt, at least until the shooting started. My dear friend Paul had come from Portland, Oregon, to hunt turkeys with me. Having known him for many years, I volunteered to be his guide and even loaned him a shotgun to use.
Beginning at first light, we heard lots of gobbles but nothing came in until around 9 a.m. Paul was sitting on the right side of the blind, I was on the left, when a tom appeared on a logging trail 120 yards off my side of the blind. He began to amble our way, without strutting or gobbling, and soon another tom joined him. There was a “blind spot” that the toms would have to pass on their way to our single hen decoy. The plan was to wait until they were clear, at about 20 yards, then Paul would shoot.
However, as they cleared the “blind spot,” it was one head behind the other and shooting would have killed both birds, and they were now in full strut. They separated, but Paul was in a twisted-up position and by the time he was lined up, they were together again. The second time they separated, Paul fired.
There’s nothing much worse for a guide than to have his hunter miss, but that was the case. Incredibly, the turkey jumped five feet into the air, landed and began prancing around trying to figure out what had just happened. I whispered over to Paul, “Shoot again.” The seconds ticked by as Paul tried to get lined up on the bird, then he fired again. I saw the leaf disturbance above his head and told Paul he had shot over him.
Now both turkeys disappeared into the “blind spot.” I thought the game was over and began calling furiously, thinking it couldn’t hurt. Leaning backward, then forward, I looked to the left and right, but saw nothing.
Thirty seconds or so later as I was still calling, one of them gobbled. Wow, they were still right there! Then, I saw a head through a small opening in the trees. Paul looked and looked and finally said, "Yes, I can see it, but I don’t think I can hit him shooting through that brush."
I insisted, “If you can see his head, you can kill him – shoot!” Bang! I’ve never had a turkey stay in range long enough to fire three shots — until this one.