It was shortly after 5 on Sunday morning when I headed into the woods toward my turkey blind. The stars were starting to fade as sky became more light in the east. It was a beautiful morning to be outdoors.
Just as I reached the blind, I heard a turkey gobble off in the distance. I was hoping I was not late enough to awaken the snoozing turkeys in the area. If they are disturbed while still on their roost, they will not fly directly down and start strutting.
The secret of blind placement is to be close enough to where they are roosting, so they do not have to be called a long distance, but not close enough to spook them. Pre-hunt scouting can give a person a general idea where the blind should be, but there are no guarantees.
Getting into my blind, I loaded my shotgun, arranged my calls around me, and poured a cup of coffee. In days gone by, I would lean up against a tree in the open timber and try not to move a muscle for several hours. Hunting from a blind is much more comfortable.
From my folding chair, I can see without being seen. To a turkey from the outside, my blind looks like a random bush. On the inside, it is roomy and dark, allowing for necessary movement such as drinking coffee and picking ticks off one’s arm.
My blind is located at the thousand-yard bench, just off a trail we keep cleared. Deer, turkey, and everything else in the woods use the trails. A flock of turkeys have been roosting at the bottom of the hill about a hundred yards away.
My plan was to wait until they flew down and call a gobbler up the trail to me. There were a couple gobbles from the roost just as daylight broke. That was re-assuring that I had not scared them off on my way in.
I answered once and waited for them to fly down. It was another 20 or 30 minutes before I heard the “whop, whop, whop,” of the wings beating the air as they flew to the trail below.
I called and was immediately answered by an anxious Tom. He was close enough I could hear his wings drag the ground.
He was strutting on the trail just over the crest of the hill. I could tell exactly where he was but could not see him. He moved back and forth, answering my call faithfully but refused to come closer.
After a while, I heard a hen behind me clucking to the gobbler. He started answering her.
This is a perfect position for a hunter to find themselves. The hen behind me could do all the calling. She sounded more natural than me anyway. All I had to do was wait for him to show his head over the edge of the hill and it would be turkey Sunday dinner.
The hen spent quite a bit of time scratching around, eating and clucking at the gobbler. By this time, she was only 10 or 15 feet behind the blind. I was entertaining myself by watching her while waiting for the gobbler to make his way up the trail.
I could still hear him, exactly where he started, just walking back and forth. The perfect setup was not working as well as expected. It only got worse from there.
The hen walked past my blind, down the hill out of sight to the gobbler. The two of them strode off together, leaving me empty-handed.
This is why they call it “hunting” rather than “getting.” All things can be perfect but does not guarantee getting your bird.