It was another opening morning, and my brother and my son had both drawn permits, so it was decided we would hunt together and I would do the calling. We had heard quite a few gobblers sounding off near an orchard each morning, and my younger brother had muffed a chance there the week before, so we had a pretty good idea of the pattern and routine of these particular turkeys. Instead of going directly towards the birds which were roosted on the back side of the orchard, it was decided we would try a flanking maneuver, and our setup was to be on the far side of an adjacent field.
Still very dark when we arrived, we stumbled though the woods trying to be as quiet as possible, kind of like a herd of buffalo on tiptoes. Most of the stumbles and breaking sticks were muffled by soft murmurings, whispers and occasional cursing. Somewhat disoriented it took us a few tense moments to even find the adjacent field, and some terse discussions took place wondering where it, the field, had gone during the night. Finally we pushed our way through the last thicket and ran into a barb wire fence which marked the boundary of the field. Barb wire is attracted to leafy camo gear, which we happened to be wearing, touching off another round of terse commentary and it took a major team effort to extract everyone from it's grip.
Finally, everone was freed and we looked around trying to find the best vantage point for a set up and soon everyone was settled, in somewhat close proximity to the afore mentioned barb wire fence. Aaron, my son, had picked out a very likely looking spot, and soon he was well blended with a gnarly looking dead tree and jumbled roots. Bob my brother was stumbling around looking and finally settled down near a fallen log further on up the fenceline. I had already found a spot where I could see well in a hollow by a ledge topped with some junipers. All movement had ceased and we sttled down to listen as the birds and animals of the forest began to stir.
I soon heard soft tree calls not more than 200 yards from us in the opposite direction of the orchard and realized we were in the middle of separate flocks, and began thinking this might actually work out for us after all, in spite of all the frustrations we had already encountered. I made a few soft calls and a turkey gobbled. I waited awhile and then called again and was answered with several gobbles and I began to feel a stir of excitement. Soon I heard a flydown and knew the birds were on the ground, so I did my best imitation of a cackle as well, and several turkeys gobble back, "Yes" I thought. Soon I began hearing footseps and rustling in the leaves in their direction, and was looking hard for any movement.
One thing I should mention here is that there was a bit of fog this particular morning. Suddenly something very large loomed to my left, startling me until I realized it was merely a cow, and then I saw several more moving along the fence heading towards Aaron. Mildly alarmed as I realized they were coming up behind him and that he wouldn't see them until they were right beside him, I wondered what might happen next. The lead cow, couldn't quite make out Aaron, but apparently knew something about that old gnarly tree was different and slowly made here way towards it sniffing as she went. Suddenly, Aaron became aware he was not alone but mere inches away from this cow, which startled him immensely and he jumped. The cow spooked and wheeled around and her reaction spooked the rest of the herd setting off a stampede down the middle of the field and directly towards the approaching turkeys, spooking them as well. All I could do was laugh. We stuck it out a little while longer, tried a couple of different things and then decided to call it a day.