Woods-N-Water readers, the last article I wrote was about my daughter, Mallary harvesting her first turkey. Since then, we set out to harvest a mature gobbler. Sure enough, we were able to obtain permission to hunt on another piece of private property and the success rate turned out to be a hundred percent.

`So without further ado, let’s go to the turkey woods for some front line action. The morning began with Mallary and me walking across a cow pasture carrying Mrs. Betty (decoy) in the darkness. The land owner told us to hunt on the far south east side of the property which led us across a barbed wire fence. Once we set up Mrs. Betty, I wrapped camouflage netting around our location and leaned up against an oak tree.

After Mallary and I were settled in, I broke out the Therma-Cell and chalked my trusty box call. Around 6:50, we heard an owl and then the twilight hours exploded with that majestic sound of the Osceola Gobbler. I leaned over to Mallary and told her the gobbler would probably fly down behind us and we would just have to wait him out. When daylight came, we heard the turkeys fly down behind us in the front pasture of the property. Suddenly, I watched several hens walk from a cypress pond with a huge gobbler in tow. As Mallary and I sat with tunnel vision, we failed to notice that Mrs. Betty was being stalked by some angry ninja cows. After watching the gobbler put on a magnificent show, I turned to Mrs. Betty and my jaw dropped as I noticed three Angus cows slobbering her face. When I say slobbering, I mean there was long stringy clear slobber stretching from the decoy to their mouths. I tried stomping the ground, grunting, and quick movements in an attempt to scare them off to no avail. Well, after Mrs. Betty was knocked off her stake and licked clean, I determined our chance of calling in the tom was slim to none. While the decoy slobbering was going on, a second gobbler had entered the pasture and now we had a gobbler on our left and a gobbler on our right with a few hens in the middle. Folks, this type of predicament spells disaster for Mallary due to the fact our decoy was flat and hens are in the pasture with the toms.

After rubbing my head wondering how to get Mallary into position, I had a plan. I told Mallary that due to the fact we were pinned down with both gobblers in the pasture along with some hens, we would have to roll down a ditch bank and belly crawl to a patch of thick marsh grass that extended into the pasture between the two toms. Let me tell you, trying to convince a ten year old girl to belly crawl on wet ground through thick grass was not an easy task. However, her being the trooper that she is, we crawled like two trained snipers for approximately eighty yards.

After the eighty yard crawl, I crossed my legs in the Indian style position and Mallary sat in my lap. I grabbed the trusty box call and made a few soft yelps while Mallary caught her breath. To my surprise, the gobbler on our right immediately gobbled and went into full strut. I yelped again and he went out of strut and began walking towards us in a fast pace. I told Mallary to get her gun to her shoulder and get ready. The gobbler continued walking toward us while gobbling. I then asked Mallary if she could see the tom and she said no due to the grass. It was at this point I determined there was going to be a problem and yet again was rubbing my head for answers. Meanwhile, the gobbler was coming hard. Before we knew it, the tom was now standing approximately ten yards away looking into the marsh grass for that sweet sounding hen. I then hoisted Mallary up by her hips while she held the twenty gauge pump to her shoulder. It was like she emerged from the marsh grass with sniper like tactics. Once she could see the tom, she counted to three (out loud) and BOOM!!!!!

After the blood began circulating back to my legs, I managed to walk with Mallary to her first mature gobbler. The tom sported inch and a half spurs and had a seven inch beard. While measuring the beard I also noticed he had what is known to me as “Beard Rot”. Beard Rot is a type of condition where a tom’s beard grows to a certain point and then breaks off. Usually at the point where the beard has broken off, the hair is tinged with a light brown color.

While Mallary attempted to carry the Tom, I walked back to Mrs. Betty and brushed her off from the near death experience. We then walked back to the truck and the photos began. I hoped u enjoy the article as much as I enjoyed the hunt with my daughter. Once again, the hunt would not have been possible without the permission from a person that believes our youth needs to be exposed to the rewards of the outdoors. Thanks in advance, Donald Fender.

4 years ago