“Where did it come from?” whispered my Illinois buddy Terron Bauer. I didn’t speak, but did gesture with my finger toward the right side of the blind. He shook his head, and pointed a finger toward the left-hand side of the blind.
I don’t know why we were being so hushed and speaking in signs because the driving rain pounding the top of our Double Bull blind would surely drown out any noise we were making. Then, in the middle of the hand gesturing and finger pointing, the boisterous longbeard fired away again. Terron and I looked at one another and threw our hands up. Between the howling north wind and the constant tick, tick, tick of the rain hitting the blind, we had no idea where the tom was calling from.
Frustrated, Terron dropped a blind window and stuck his entire head outside. I called. The tom gobbled. He was to the right of the blind, and as quickly as Terron jerked his head back inside and closed the window, I could tell he was close.
For the next few minutes, I called aggressively at the bird. Why wouldn’t I? Despite the wind and rain, he was hammering every yelp, cut, cluck and purr I produced. The second he hit the field edge, however, his tune changed. He didn’t try to strut or gobble. Once he saw the decoys, the bird simply started pecking along the maze field working in our direction.
The bird was approaching, but he wasn’t acting like a typical spring tom. He acted like a fall or winter bird — perfectly content to simply stroll along the field edge pecking at grain.
When the bird hit 30 yards and continued to pay our decoy spread no mind, I decided it was best to take a shot. He was beginning to skirt around our fakes and paid the Avian-X Jake situated over a ready-to-be-bred hen no mind. I’ve decoyed throngs of toms and jakes in my time, and this bird’s body language told me to press the issue and take the first ethical he gave. When I drew, the bird stopped, and my arrow was true.
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Remember, we don’t always get those perfect, sun-soaked turkey days. When Mother Nature rears her ugly head, you need to be ready to adjust your hunt tactics to how the critters you’re pursuing are acting. Terron’s intuition to lower the blind window and pinpoint the gobbler was spot on. And by simply watching the approaching tom and paying attention to his body language, I knew to push the issue and take the shot.
Remember, turkeys have nothing to do but walk, eat and try to breed. They don’t bed up for hours on end like a whitetail. Brave the weather, put yourself in the game, and skewer a foul weather bird!
Featured photo: John Hafner Photography