pressure had been fairly heavy and the birds were spooky.
We’d had a few close encounters up to the point of taking the safety off, but never quite to the point of squeezing the trigger. The last day I wandered down a narrow valley that led to the river—maybe a mile and a half away. I’d stopped to call every now and then and had traveled about a mile when I came upon a spring that bubbled out of the ground into a small, deep pool from whence ran a shallow creek that gurgled around a small bench about 60 yards long by 30 yards wide. It looked like someone’s front yard, covered with lush green grass, and well it might, as it was fertilized by hundreds of turkey droppings! A lone hen decoy was placed and I crawled back in the brush off the far end of the bench.
A very steep “hog backed” ridge, timbered with pines, jutted up from the far bank of the creek.
Yelps and cuts on a mouth call produced a booming gobble from the top of the ridge. He’d come down to the creek bank and then retreat back up the ridge. This trip was repeated several times over the span of an hour, but he refused to cross the creek!
This called for a change of tactics, so I slipped back up the valley, climbed to the top of the ridge and then moved as close as I dared back towards his position and lay down behind a mound of sand covered with beach grass and called. He gobbled so close it like to of stopped my heart! He was in a little crease not twenty yards away! A red and white head popped into view, but before I could shoot disappeared, never to be seen again. I think the sun had reflected off my shotgun scope smack into the tom’s eyes.
Next, I took a trip to Hill City in the Black Hills of South Dakota where I was greeted by six inches of snow on May 1st! The back roads were impassable even with four-wheel drive.
A couple of years later, my nephew, Tim, and I traveled to Winner, South Dakota, to bow hunt on a private farm. I managed to call up two gobblers and Tim zapped an arrow through one of the birds end-to-end. It was twenty degrees that morning, plus a brisk wind that made this old man too stiff to draw his bow!
The next year we went back to the Black Hills near Spearfish, South Dakota, to hunt private land with a guide. We came very close, but not quite close enough!
Turkey hunting is an “almost” kind of sport. So, the spot on the wall is still waiting!