Whitesburg KY

Struttin’ Time

A lifelong dream really came true

I had spent a restless night after my first full day of hunting in Mexico, thinking about the black bear encounter and the lack of any activity from the Gould turkey that I was hunting.

I heard a quiet hum and right away I knew it was almost get-up time. I looked at my watch and sure enough the light in my room came on; it was 4 a.m. Breakfast would be at 4:30 and we would leave camp at 5 a.m. heading back into the desert for our second full day of hunting.

I noticed my guide, Gerado, packed extra water and more snacks than the day before, which told me we could be in for a long day of hunting. The Dodge Ram roared from the camp at 5 a.m. sharp. After about an hour of driving, we parked and exited the truck. Gerado hit his call and two gobblers answered at once, one from the north, one from the south. Gerado set me up and the one from the north kept coming, the one from the south not so much.

The one from the south went closed mouth about five minutes into Gerado’s calling. The gobbler to our north kept coming, but we picked up the chatter of hens.

Within a few minutes the real hens had carried him away to parts unknown. We moved on. After walking for what seemed to be an hour, Gerado put down his calls for a minute. I told him to hit it again, as I thought I heard a gobble. Gerado hit his call and a long beard answered. He was close.

We moved forward 200 yards and the gobbling was wide open. There were six long beards grouped, and each one was putting on a show for us. They closed the distance fast. Problem was, we were in a tight spot, in the wide open, as the first gobbler rounded a curve, and made his presence known, followed by five others, all red hot.

I knew they were looking for a hen that didn’t exist. It is tough enough to fool one set of eyes, let alone six. Sure enough, the lead gobbler spotted something he never liked and started running. (Remember, when you see the red, throw the lead.) I shot, feathers flew, but he wasn’t hit with a death shot. I tried again, still to no avail. He picked up steam as he headed out of sight, so I aimed at the second turkey in line and missed him.

I never had shot this gun before. It never had turkey sights and it was giving me fits. Failure was not an option, although I was about to begin to doubt myself. Then I squeezed down on the third turkey in line. He went down like a French prizefighter, and it was like a burden had been lifted from me. I was in a daze, my guide shaking my hand, my much sought after Gould turkey was on the ground, and now after all these years my “Royal Slam” was in the record books.

For years I have said, I live a life bigger than a dream, and that day my dream came true. Please think outside the box and follow your dreams. If you will, your dreams will come true.

Until next week …

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