It was the second week of spring turkey season.  I had gotten off to a late start but the weather was nice and I was ready for a face-off with a big gobbler.  I set the alarm to get up early.  I had hunted this part of Wayne National before and knew a patch of pines where the turkeys often roost.  I didn’t spend much time getting dressed.  As soon as I finished my cup of coffee, I started walking with a flashlight toward my hunting spot.  I had a long walk ahead of me, including climbing a high hill.  The temperature was just about right, a little cool but not too cold.  I listened for a gobbler as I walked but only heard one a long distance away.  It was too far to pursue, besides I already had a spot picked out for my first morning hunt. 
As I approached the area where I was going to hunt, I tried to walk making very little noise.  The roosting trees were nearby and I didn’t want the turkeys to hear me.  I located a large partly dead tree with a fallen log beside it about half way down the ledge at the edge of the patch of pines where I expected the turkeys to be roosting.  It looked like a spot with a good view of the area below that would provide an adequate back rest and afford some cover. Using a couple of sticks and some camouflage material, I created a makeshift blind.
After a few minutes, I made my first call.  I carried in my pocket a box call in a cheap thin reclosable sandwich bag.  The bag keeps the call dry and the thin plastic allows its use without removing it.  I made a soft yelp call and leaned back against the tree.  I was hoping for a gobble in response but it didn’t happen.  I didn’t want to over call, so I just waited.  I learned a long time ago that turkeys can locate a faint call and go directly to its source thirty minutes or more after the call is made.  I repeated the faint call about every twenty minutes.
At around 9 o’clock, a turkey seemed to have appeared out of nowhere below me.  It was in a strut approaching from the right.  My heart rate increased as I waited for it to get directly in front of me.  Suddenly, I saw another turkey walking very fast coming down the hill in front of me.  It must have been planning to challenge the one in a strut.  It was going to have to cross a stream and go through a small strip of pines to get to him.   I just watched and didn’t move until the turkey closest to me walked behind a tree about forty yards in front of me.  I then raised my gun and aimed at where I expected its head to appear on the other side of the tree.  I followed the turkey for a few seconds.  When it stretched its head forward, I shot.  The turkey flopped around some.  I was sure I had my bird.  All of a sudden, the turkey stopped flopping and starting running.  I managed to get two more shots at the turkey while it was running away but with no success.  Needless to say, the second turkey got out of Dodge quickly.  I was left standing and wondering what went wrong.  How could I have missed that turkey?  I was shooting 3 inch turkey loads and should have easily made the shot. It wasn’t until I got back to camp that I figured out what had happened.
In getting ready for the hunting trip, I bought several boxes of turkey loads.  They were all the same except for the size of the shot.  My plan was to load the gun so I would be shooting #5 loads for the first two rounds followed by a #4.  The thinking was that if I needed to shoot a third shot, it would be far away and #4 shot would provide the best chance for a kill.  I patterned the gun using the #5 shot shells.  On the morning of the hunt, I had forgotten that I had two types of shell and just grabbed two boxes.  They turned out to be #4 shot.  The pattern at 40 yards was just sparse enough to allow the turkey’s head to not get hit.  The old tom was lucky once again and managed to dodge the bullet to gobble another day.

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