It’s a little ironic that it took Lady Luck to close out an otherwise picture-perfect turkey hunt, which netted my hunting buddy Jason Shell’s first gobbler. The irony stems from the fact it was a small group of ladies who nearly botched it too!
This hunt started with a scouting trip to the area a week prior, where a tom strutting in a field piqued the interest of these hunters. Limited time afield this Spring left the final day of the North Carolina turkey season as the last call to try and get Jason connected with turkey numero uno.
We stationed a ground blind in the back corner of a freshly cut alfalfa field, plunked a tom and hen decoy in front of us and waited cautiously for day to break before making the first yelp of the morning.
Our excitement grew long before the first stroke on my David Halloran Sugartown Sweetness pot call as a tom presented a familiar, hair-raising shock gobble less than a football field from where we sat.
“Here we go,” I muttered.
A few series of yelps were met not only by the early-rising gobbler, but also by no fewer than two other birds within shouting distance from our setup.
We were in the game!
The closest bird seemed lazy not wanting to leave his overnight perch in the tree. As such, we started to focus on another bird that had clearly set foot aground and made his way our direction.
He was getting closer.
After a game of flirting back and forth, we knew the interested tom was just in the woods to the left of our blind, although we were not-yet able to see him. He seemed to be strutting back and forth along the hedgerow before making his commitment to enter the field.
That’s when he caught a glimpse of our decoys.
The bird entered our field just 25 yards away. Because we had a small handheld video camera in tow, I told Jason to wait on my call before pulling the trigger. He was going to be to our decoys soon and our picture-perfect hunt would be in the books.
Like most successful hunts, a small audible needed called in our game plan.
Just when everything was going too well, the turkey started veering away from our setup on a slow walk. Little did I know until afterwards, but a group of ladies were making their morning walk on the old road some 400-500 yards away from our setup. The ol’ tom had seen them and seemed to be heading toward safer woods.
It was time for Jason to shoot.
He dropped the hammer on the bird to end a great hunt that nearly turned sour. And his first turkey was on the board. I think it’s safe to assume he’ll be chasing more birds in years to come after this successful hunt and a number of close calls over the last couple seasons.