I now knew that there were some birds in the area, so I went back to the same spot the next morning. About 6:30 am I started getting some strong answers to my calling. I soon saw an answering Tom come out of the woods on the south side of the opening from me. He was fanned out and slowly strutting across the opening north towards me, but he was taking his sweet time.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Ron is a long time member who is a retired U.S. Forest Service forester. Ron served during a period of time when great things were happening for wildlife on the Huron-Manistee National Forest in Michigan. I have witnessed a half a dozen attacks by a coyote on Wild Turkeys without being successful. Each time the turkey or turkeys were able to take to the air to escape the coyote. I have never heard of anyone ever seeing the event that Ron witnessed. Amazing!
I then saw two hens come out of the woods far to the right of him. The two hens started to move towards him and he hung up in a fanning display. A half hour or more had now gone by as the hens continued to move towards the Tom that was now about 50 yards in front of me. He was a large spectacular bird and I could see his long beard dragging the ground, and the two hens were now starting to get his attention. I knew that it would now take some effort to get him within shooting range of me.
As I continued to watch and work the birds in closer, the two hens suddenly started calling out loudly in alarm and in excitement they moved quickly across the opening towards the Tom. I had never experienced this before as I wondered what was causing their excitement. I then saw a large coyote stalking from the woods towards them. In their alarm, they quickly ran behind the Tom for some possible security. As the coyote was about to approach the turkeys, the Tom stood tall and faced the coyote head on in protection of the hens. I was about to fire a shot at the coyote in support of the turkeys, but the coyote quickly retreated as the Tom ran him off back into the woods.
The Tom then turned around and went back to join the hens. The three of them then walked off in a direction away from me and the coyote. They were not aware that I was a very surprised spectator to the victory of the Tom turkey over a coyote out seeking a meal. This made for a very interesting and memorable turkey hunting experience. I would never have expected the turkey to be the victor against a hungry coyote.