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OUTDOOR TRUTHS: Silence Is Golden During Turkey Hunt

By Gary Miller

I’ve always known just where a few turkeys roost. It’s the same place every year. For the last several years I have not even used a locater call. I’ve just made my way to this area and set up about a hundred yards from where they usually are. I can’t remember the last time my opening day routine was different and when they were not there. This year was no different. Three toms responded but I couldn’t get them any closer than 80 yards.

The other day was not opening day. It was actually my fourth trip into the woods but since I had not been in a few days I decided to take my opening day approach. I quietly set up and waited until daylight. The familiar echoes of treed toms never came. They had spent the night somewhere else. For an hour after that I never heard the first gobble. Then things changed. Just over the next ridge I heard one give up his location. I quickly made the trip to the ridge just above where two toms were gobbling the woods down. I never made a sound but eased down into the woods adjacent to their position. I got set up and called with two calls to make it seem like there were two hens in the vicinity. The toms quickly responded so I shut up. I put my slate call down and refused to let one yelp ring from my mouth call. No matter how much they called, I never responded. I went quiet. They couldn’t take the silence and proceeded to move my way to find out where the ladies had moved to. When the second one came by, I put the bead of my gun on his head, pulled the trigger, and dropped him in his tracks. (I love when a good plan comes together.)

It’s amazing what silence will do. While it can hinder a meaningful conversation, when it comes to God, it allows us to listen more intently and can draw us closer to the place we last heard Him. It can also bring balance back to a one-sided relationship. After all, this is how most of our praying goes. We talk to God and talk to God and talk to God. And we rarely remain still and silent long enough for Him to speak and draw close to our position. We can’t hear Him because our own calls have drowned his response. It amazes me that the first blessing in prayer doesn’t come from what we say but from where we are. Jesus said, when you pray, go into your room and shut the door. And the Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. He didn’t say, the Father who hears what you say, but who sees where you are. Friend, it has been said that silence is golden. Whoever said that must have learned this first lesson of prayer. It’s better to show up and shut up when God is part of the conversation.

Gary Miller has written three books that are compilations of the articles he has penned for nearly 15 years. He also speaks at game dinners and men’s groups for churches and associations. He can be reached via e-mail at

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