OUTDOOR TRUTHS: Preparing For Successful Turkey Shoot
By Gary Miller
I was unable to scout before opening day but I knew where the turkeys loved to roost. So, I proceeded to set up my decoys with a little bit of faith and a little bit of reason. As daylight approached I tried to wake up a nearby gobbler with a soft yelp. Nothing answered my call until a few minutes later. It was a hen who decided to join my motionless pair of a hen and Jake. Shortly thereafter, I heard a gobble from an unexpected direction. He was quite a distance away so I was unsure as to whether he would make it to me before he was intercepted by another hen. What I didn’t realize at the time was that my lone hen was on her way to do just that. They met about two hundred yards away but within eye shot of me and my decoys. For the next hour this tom would chase the hen and then stop and posture for my decoys, hoping his flexing would entice my fake hen over to his side. His strutting looked like a pose-down at the Arnold Classic. We got the view from the front, back, and sides. Of course, nothing worked to his dismay. About an hour later the live hen that had led him away was now leading him right toward my setup. After a few minutes of following her, with intermediate flex sessions, he finally got to about thirty-five yards away. He ultimately landed in pieces on my grill – brushed with butter and lightly salted.
What I will remember most about this hunt was how my setup allowed me to see the action from so far away without being spotted. I felt like I was watching it all transpire from some sort of lofted position. In my hunting world it’s rare to be able to take in so much of the pre-shot activity. Normally the action and reaction time is short and to the point. This was just the opposite. In fact it took so long, and I had so much time to plan my shot, that any nervousness was negligible. I was as ready and prepared as possible and therefore there was nothing else to do but to trust my shot.
I find in most other venues this works as well. If I'm well prepared the chances of missing my goal are minimal. And thorough preparation takes time. The problem for most of us is that we give our time to things that move at breakneck speed and to things that can be accomplished in a minimal amount of effort. If you think about it, however, the most important things in life call for the greatest preparation and thus for the greatest amount of our time. Let’s spend our time wisely.
Gary Miller can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com