Sometimes Taking A Chance Pays Off
Published: May 13th, 2020
By: Eric Davis

Sometimes taking a chance pays off Evening Sun File Photo

When hunting or fishing, sometimes the day does not as you planned. From the weather making things difficult, to hens interfering with your attempt to fool a tom into gun range sometimes you have the thought to change things up to be successful. The failure rate, at least for me, seems to be high. However, when you take a chance and end up sealing the deal there is no better feeling.

Two Saturdays ago (May 2), I was hunting my brother-in-law and I was hoping to call in a turkey that would be his first turkey harvest. If you do not remember, it was a cold morning with heavy fog especially near the rivers. We walked up the hill behind his house to where he had seen a tom with some hens the evening before. As I started to look around for a couple of trees that we could sit at along the field edge, a bird gobbled in the woods across the field from where we were. We set out our decoys and found a tree for my brother-in-law to sit at and I sat against an old stone wall. A second bird started to gobble downhill from the first bird. They continued to gobble a lot on the roost and were surprisingly vocal once they hit the ground.

Once they flew down, however, they headed directly away from us. We sat patiently for a little bit and one of the birds started coming back. After a few minutes, it sounded like he was in the field. This tom was gobbling his head off at every call I made. It became clear that he would not budge from where he was. The field was covered in fog, so it was impossible for the tom to see our decoys. I kept changing calls in hopes that one of them would be “the one” that got him to break and come across the field.

I began having the same recurring thought, that if we could get bird to see our decoys that it would be a done deal. Finally, the tree line across the field started to become visible in the fog. I called and the bird responded instantly. I scanned the field with my binoculars, and I spotted the bird in full strut. Just as I started to think he could see the decoys, the fog rolled back in. He continued to gobble on his own and at my calling. The fog kept fluctuating but in one of the periods when it was pretty clear I spotted a small clump of brush and trees with a few old hay bales out in the field that was only 100 yards from where the tom was held up. I told my brother-in-law that if we could get to the hay bales, the tom would come right in.

A couple minutes later, the fog got thick again, and I said, “Let’s go for it.” We grabbed the decoys and snuck around to the hay bales using a dip in the field to help keep us hidden. Just as we got there, the tom gobbled inside the wood line. This let us know we could take a few seconds and set the decoys exactly where we wanted. I paced 20 yards from the hay bale my brother in law was going to sit at and put the jake decoy out along with two hen decoys a few steps on each side of the jake.

As I sat down at my hay bale, the fog seemed to miraculously disappear right then. I let out a series of yelps on my box call and the tom gobbled immediately. I waited a few seconds and called again. He gobbled closer this time, so I knew he was coming. A few moments later I could hear my brother-in-law whisper something but could not make out what he said. I looked up the field and could see the tips of a tail fan coming over the rise in the field. The bird fully crested the rise and let out a monstrous gobble when he spotted the decoys. The tom strutted and gobbled at 75 yards for about 5 minutes. He just paced back and forth like he was on a walkway. I honestly began to wonder if he was going to stay hung up and not come any closer.

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After another minute or two, the tom turned and started to walk towards the decoys. As he got to the 40-yard range I told me brother-in-law to take his safety off. A couple moments later, he pulled the trigger and the tom dropped right next to the jake decoy.

As we got up to the bird, we looked back at where we had been set up originally and could not see where the decoys would have been. The topography of the field combined with the direction of the sun made that portion of the field dark with shadows. All I could think about afterwards was, we would never have gotten that tom if we had not moved. Finally, a time when the risk paid off!