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The tom I thought I had roosted the nigh before had either been spooked off the roost or just refused to talk, either way I had to scrap plan A and go directly to plan B. The problem was that the morning saw a cold front come through a little before sunrise and although it called for a chance of rain, what we got instead was wind. I think most turkey hunters will agree, that we would take about anything other than wind. Yes, the turkeys are still out there, but with all those limbs moving it just seems to make them more nervous than they already are. Sometimes they just simply shut up and find a nice draw to get into out of the wind and display there. The pasture I had plans of setting up in was so windy that my decoys were spinner around on their stakes. They didn’t look very realistic even if there had been a tom to see them. I stayed put for a couple hours just in case the tom was still around and then gathered my decoys and took a hike.
I went from ridge to ridge sitting and calling and when nothing answered or if I didn’t see anything I would move on. After putting on my hunter orange hat, so some other hunter didn’t mistake me for a turkey. It was killing the morning okay, but that was the only killing taking place. I dropped off one ridge to cross an old railroad bed spur and then eased into the edge of a large open pasture. It may have been 75 yards to a wooded creek/ditch that ran through the pasture and then on the other side of the creek/ditch was another open pasture of just about the same width. I had plans to cross the creek and then cross the second pasture and climb the opposite ridge. Instead of just heading across the pasture, I thought this might be a good time to sit down and have some peanut butter and crackers along with a drink from my Mountain Dew that I used to pack everywhere I went. I did this and even tried calling with my slate a few times, but not hearing anything I went back to my peanut butter and crackers. The edge of the pasture was pretty still, but the trees were swaying above me and I could see the trees moving on the other side of the pasture. I called again and the silence was deafening.
I was a little reluctant to get up and head across the open pasture for fear of spooking some turkey that may have had the pasture in its sight. I wondered to myself that with all this wind maybe my calling wasn’t loud enough. So I reach along the side of my vest where my Lynch Box call rested in its sleeve on the outside of the vest. I gave a series of yelps with I suppose medium volume just in case there was a tom nearby I didn’t what to call to loud. Nothing answered, so I gave eight yelps just about as loud as I could. Doing my calling sequence I thought I heard a gobble, but it was so faint I couldn’t tell for sure. I waited perhaps three or four minutes and then called again and again I heard a gobble, but this time a little louder.
Now the tom was across the two pastures and up on the ridge across from me and slightly to my right. Waiting a few more minutes, I called again and there it was and I now I didn’t wondered if it was a gobble as this time I heard the gobble plainly across and above me on the side of that ridge. When I called again the tom answered, but it didn’t appear that he was moving any closer. The next time I called he was at the same location. Now in the wild, tom turkeys display and gobble and the hens come to them or at the very least they both move towards each other. This tom must have drew some kind of line in the leaves that he was going as far as he was going to go.
There is a little game you can play with toms if you can fight the urge to call and that’s go silent. The tom will give in and eventually come in and see what happened to that hen. The urge to call is very strong as you can get a response from the tom, but that doesn’t mean that he will come in. So I went silent on this tom and after he gobbled a couple times he went silent, as well. Perhaps fifteen to twenty minutes went by and I finally saw the tom enter the far pasture. He seemed reluctant to do so, but he slowly came across the first pasture and displayed on the other side of the ditch. He may have done this for ten minutes and when he had his back to me, I ever so softly made some purrs. The tom wheeled around and began looking for a place to cross the ditch. He found a cow path and when he went into the ditch and out of sight I raised my shotgun and watched him slowly close the distance from my view over the shotgun barrel. At perhaps thirty yards, he stopped and stared my direction, but not directly at me. It was at that moment that I ended the hunt.
This was not the first time my box call had saved the day for me. I am sure that if the tom would have been closer and if the wind wasn’t howling the tom would have heard my slate call and the results might have been the same. But the wind was howling and the tom was a long ways away and such conditions are ideal for the box call. Almost every turkey hunter I know has a box call in their turkey vest. The diaphragm turkey call may be everyone’s favorite, especially if you are any good with one, which I am not. So my favorite call is some type of glass call with an acrylic striker to make a real sharp cutting yelp. However, there will always be a box call in my vest and it should have a sign on it that reads, “Use in case of an emergency, when nothing else will work.” The box call has been around forever and there is some dispute as to who made the first one, but the first box style turkey call was patented by a farmer named Henry C. Gibson living in Dardanelle, Arkansas in 1897. There may have been earlier box calls, but Gibson held the first patent. That’s a long history of success and each year the success continues to build.