I was invited to hunt at Red Creek Farm by owner David Kahn, last season but it never panned our because our schedule never gave us a free weekend during the Alabama turkey hunting season. This year when the invite was extended, I knew I had to make a date work. Fortunately, it worked our great for us because we had not made plans to hunt out of state in April. The date was set, dinner was planned and a morning of hunting was surely to bring some fun and hopefully, excitement.
We arrived early so we could ride around on Hank the HuntVe and get our bearings of the layout of the land. With map and iPad linked to Google Earth we headed out. We saw 2 hens on different ends of the property and rode into a field that had a hen and tom…there was at least one good tom on this property so we had high hopes. We set up a Double Bull Blind on a chuffa field where there were tons of signs.
After a great dinner of grilled ribeye, baked potatoes, tossed salad and honey multi-grain rolls we talked about hunting and shared some photos. We all turned in early with a set departure time of 5:30 a.m. We were walking to the blind in the morning. There would be three of us–David and I would sit in the blind and Richard would be sitting outside the blind with the video camera.
Morning came quickly…it seemed I just laid my head down on the pillow when my alarm went off. But it didn’t take me 15 minutes to be ready and another 10 minutes to eat breakfast–by 5:20 a.m. we were all walking stealthily to the blind. We heard a gobble at daybreak but it was on the North end of the property a good 500 yards away as a crow flies. It was going to be too hard to get to that bird before he was on the ground. That bird gobbled several more times as if he was taunting us.
We heard two other birds, but there just wasn’t any easy way to get to either of them. David felt that we should stay until 8 a.m. and we almost made it that long until we all decided that the bird on the ground to the North was yearning for our attention. We went out after it, to no avail. Well, we finally got on Hank the HuntVe and crept around the property and saw hens. We were riding the road system when David said quickly, “STOP! I think I just seen a turkey.” We sat still for about 15 seconds when David said, “No. It must have been something different. We started rolling slowly and silently when all of the sudden a tom darted from the edge of the two rut road darting into the side of the woods. It knocked the air out of all of us. This is the bird that we heard at the North end of the property.
We went to check two other chuff fields…Nothing. Then a third area produced a hen, but not a
Tom. As a last ditch effort, we decided to return to the area of our original hunt that morning. Low and behold, when David went to the top of the terrace he saw a tail fan and he slowly backed up to us and told us to grab a hunting spot. I sat at the base of a tree where David joined me. Richard sat at the base of a tree behind us and slightly to the right of us.
Richard called a few times, the bird gobbled back, finally the hens started moving our way and the gobbler came in close enough Richard could hear the Tom drumming, we just could not see him. My heart was raising, my gun was ready and we made a quick game plan that if the bird came out at a hard left, David was going to shoot him. About 10 minutes later I was hearing hens behind us. As usual when territorial hens hear unfamiliar hens in the area, they take their Tom and move. We didn’t see or hear those birds anymore.
We called the hunt and headed to the lodge to grab a sandwich…which was a welcomed meal–my my stomach was gnawing on my back bone. I even had a large helping of strawberry short cake with fresh strawberries and extra creamy whip cream. We took a few empty-handed photos in front of the sign. Regardless, I still had an awesome morning enjoying the outdoors with Richard and David, we did have some exciting things that happened, and it is always fun riding around looking at land.
We talked about having a ladies hunt at Red Creek Farm, which led to David asking us to come look at the fields and shooting houses we had not seen. I quickly said, “that would be great but I am not going without my gun.” David said, “Of course.” With that, I quickly went to my gear bag and unpacked my Diffusion Pullover, checked the pocket for my facemask…check…gloves…check…ESP ear protection…check…and 3 Winchester 3.5″ #5s Premium Elite shells. I quickly peeled the gun sleeve off my shotgun and hustled down to Hank the HuntVe where Richard and David were waiting on me. Off we go…
We get to the first stand, then the second shooting house and Richard takes a hard right headed Southeast for the power line. We take our time riding through the planted pines and finally make it to the power line. There were 4 more stands that David wanted to show us. As Richard was talking about the shot possibility in yardages from the particular shooting house we were staring at, he and I both instantly pick up something moving further down the power line…130-40 yards. At the same time we both said, “TOM!” The tom took off quickly for the woods. Well, he was gone.
I asked Richard if he had seen where the bird went into the woods and he replied, “Yes, at the fire break.” I asked, “do you think I should go after that bird?” He said, ‘If you feel like it, go ahead.” I quickly grabbed my vest, my gun and stepped off the back of Hank. I said, “Pick me up on your way out.” and within 5-6 hurried steps I was out of hearing distance of them.
I had a good length of road to walk and I needed to get moving and cover some ground to cut this bird off. I was walking along pretty quickly when it dawned on me that I really should not have eaten that huge serving of strawberry shortcake after lunch. I was getting a stitch in my side and my stomach felt like a half-filed water balloon with food and drink sloshing around. But I had to hurry, I was on a mission. All I could think is hustle, hustle…quicker. I reached in to my pocket and pulled out my facemask and gloves and put those on. Next, I dug into my vest pocket fishing out my striker and then into my pouch for my Sweet Talker Commando Call.
As I finally reached the road crossing, out of breath I might add, I glassed down the road and didn’t see any thing. I started walking down the road as close to the edge as I could. After about 20 yards, everything inside of me was telling me “don’t push it, stop here.” I have always had a good gut and often lately I have been second guessing it and pushing it. So this time, I stopped. I picked up my binoculars again and as I started to drop them, I thought I seen movement. I looked a little longer and there he was, crossing the road into the planted pines. I quickly found me a spot to sit on the same side of the road he just went into…I didn’t have time to cross it and I didn’t want to be seen. He was still at 90-100 yards.
I immediately struck my Commando Sweet Talk call with a few purrs. Nothing. I had my gun across my lap. I struck the call again. Nothing. I struck a few yelps. Nothing. No gobble, no movement…NOTHING. Should I move down the road quickly? No! More calling. I was about to doubt that I had a chance with this bird. I looked down beside me for a split second just so I could find a place to lay my call down and as I looked up….THERE HE WAS.
He was already at the edge of the road coming out of the woods. He was looking for that hen. My gun was in my lap, the bird was at 50 yards in the wide open road, an easy shot for my gun, choke and shot combination. BUT how am I going to get this gun up without him seeing me. There was nothing between he and I but my camo.
The Tom didn’t look real for a minute as he bobbed his head slowly looking for that hen that was making those content feeding purrs. He made two, slow methodical steps and was in the road, headed my direction….my gun is in my lap, I can’t move, nothing to use as a barrier to pick up this shotgun in my lap. WHAT TO DO?? It was at this point that I started to hear my heartbeat in my ears. This was a serious moment. I was under pressure…I had to make a decision and quickly cause this Tom was definitely going to bust me in a fews seconds cause he was going to be sitting min my lap.
He took a hard right, slowly walking into the woods…a step and looking around sharply tilting his head. He walked behind a short bush that gave me the opportunity to pick up my gun and put it in front of me. He walked two more steps and finally was behind a small pine. I shouldered my shotgun, placed the stock to my cheek, lined up my bead and he raised his head as if he saw movement. He was about ready to walk into a really thick area and the saplings were surrounding him. In two steps he was going to be in a shooting lane at 40 yards with a 12″ shooting lane gap between the saplings from the angle I was sitting. I knew my gun, my choke and my shot combination and I knew what my pattern was at 40 and 50 yards so I felt confident about my gun and making an ethical shot….my issue was the exact timing that I stop this bird. He was going to have to stop in just the right area between that 12″ so I could make the shot.
My heart was pounding in my ears, I had sweat beads on my forehead from the near jog to get to this spot. I took in a breath and slowly let it out when the tom took another step entering my 12″ shooting lane. He started to execute the next step when I putted and he stuck his head straight up, perfectly centered between the 12″ gap I had to work with, I faintly thought “Thank you, Jesus!” as I lined up my bead with his ear and I squeezed the trigger. BOOOOMM!!
The tom dropped straight down and because of the heavy brush I could not see him. I ejected my shell and pumped in another round as I quickly got up and put my gun on safety. I saw him flop an entire circle and as I approached him, I drew my gun on him, took my safety off just in case. I saw that he had no control over his head and knew it was over for him. I stalked this bird, called him to me, made a shot that would redefine “threading the needle” and this all happened after we called the hunting for the weekend. I still could not believe it. I remember cheering and saying “Whew!! I could do this every day, all day long! Woo Hoo!” I did a little turkey dance and quickly dug my phone out of my front pouch. I called Richard and I said, “Woo Hoo!! I got him!” He told me that they heard the shot. I had to wait about 10 minutes for them to come get me and I lived the whole scenario over and over about 10 times and I was still bubbly with excitement. I even did a little turkey dance in the road when they turned the corner.
What an amazing end to an already great weekend. This bird may be the Tom to finish out my season, but I have had more than my share of great turkey hunting this spring so I will be thankful to the Good Lord, my husband, my mentors, the turkey Gods, some great folks that have shared their resources with me and those who have shared in these memories…..we DANCED!!