Deep in the hardwood forest it wasn’t as easy to see, as it had been out on the logging road. First light hadn’t happened yet.
Walking carefully and quietly we closed the distance to where we thought the ol’ gobbler might be roosted. When we thought we might be as close as we dared to get without “tipping” the ol’ Gobbler off to our presence, we paused briefly.
In the still of the pre dawn we could hear the Gobbler and his harem of hens “fidgiting” nervously in anticipation of the sunrise.
I indicated to my buddy where I thought I would set up to try to take the gobbler. Knoding his head, he moved quietly a few yards back in the direction that we had came from, to set up to call to the gobbler.
Gently clearing a place at the bottom of a large old red oak tree, I set down on my cammo foam pad and checked to see if there was anything that I could brush against that would make a sound and alert the Gobbler to my presence.
In the quiet of the morning I thought, ” those old birds are sure noisy and restless on the roost this frosty morning !”
One final check of my equipment and I sat quietly waiting for my buddy’s first calling run.
When he gave a hen yelp, I gave a small jump. Even though I knew it was coming, I jumped.
The gobbler gave a somewhat subdued “tree gobble” in response.
“Too early still,” I thought.
Light was improving rapidly. And the gobbler knew now, that there was a strange hen nearby.
The excitement had began to build.
After the tree gobble, the birds on the roost began to be a bit more animated and to vocalize a little more than before.
A couple of minutes go by and my buddy gives a full, throaty, old raspy hen yelp run.
That did it, the gobbler broke out into a double gobble while still on the roost.
I can visibly tell that my pulse has increased also.
By now I can tell that first light is fully upon us. Sunup is still a little ways off yet.
Now I am thinking about my buddy, the caller’s, delimma. He is likely thinking, “Is this ol’ bird ready to fly off of the roost?” “Have I missed hearing a hen come off of the roost?” “If I did, I will have competetion for the attention of the Gobbler”.
“Which call should I give next?”
A brief pause follows. Then my buddy gives a “Fly down cackle”.
The old gobbler immediately flies down from the roost and gives a tripple gobble !
My buddy follows it immediately by a” hen yelp run” and I can hear the gobbler coming my way drumming .
I am so “wound up” by now, that I think to myself “If I don’t settle down, I will have trouble making the shot”
The Gobbler comes into sight. He is in full strut and the drumming is getting louder and louder as he approaches.
My buddy knows by the sound that he is coming to us and he hesitates in his calling runs to keep him headed towards us.
There is a log in between me and the Gobbler and all I can see is the top of his fan as he is strutting.
I am so excited by now that I am positive that if a shot presents it’s self, I will miss !
That dang log ! He is reluctant to cross over the log, or go around it.
My buddy gives a soft yelp run and the Gobbler is at the end of the log. He responds to the yelp by a long powerful gobble.
As his neck is exposed during the gobble, and I realise that it is now or never.
While walking back to the truck we both talk excitedly about each subtle nuance of the hunt and how the gobbler reacted at each stage and call.
My buddy just kept saying over and over, “I thought you were never going to shoot !”
He was at a slightly different angle to the Gobbler and the log just wasn’t in his field of view.
Not telling him the log had my view blocked, I just said with an all knowing look, ” you know, you just can’t rush some things !”