Turkey Perseverance

Outdoor Outpost: May 2024

Joe Schuster | May 2, 2024

Many old-time turkey hunters say that patience kills a longbeard. I’d add that perseverance, combined with patience, kills a turkey.

This season, I had the opportunity to turkey hunt with two of my sons. On both occasions, we either saw or heard some birds but could not close the deal. My son Jackson is based at Fort Moore (formerly Fort Benning), and I was invited to join him on the 182,000-acre base to hunt. He had been hunting it often since the season opener but without any luck.

Morning arrived and we were greeted with an awesome sunrise and some distant gobbling. We made a couple of moves to close the distance but never did see those longbeards. With the morning coming to a close, we had a tailgate lunch and set the strategy for an afternoon hunt. Midday hunting can be notoriously slow, as was the case here. My son painstakingly worked calls periodically as we stalked across the numerous ups and downs of the military installation. We totaled more than 7 miles that day, which completely wiped me out. I drove home that afternoon, content with a fine day in the woods with my son, despite not rolling a spring gobbler.

I got a text from my son before daylight the next morning that he was going out again. This consistent attitude served him well last deer season after about 20 bowhunts without even seeing a deer. Then, he arrowed a beauty of a buck in mid November that will soon be hanging on his wall.

Later that morning, my cell phone rang. Most young folks seem to text rather than call, so when my son called me on Facetime, I knew it was important. With a big smile, he scanned to the ground where a mature gobbler was displayed. It had a beard longer than 11 inches and 1 1/4-inch hooks.

Jackson had come up over a ridge, shotgun at the ready and saw a large turkey. Not sure if it was a hen, he eased back down a bit to wait and offered up a soft mouth call. Within seconds, a red head came up over the ridgetop, and he rolled it. Success thanks to perseverance.

Later that evening, he sent me a photo of a tasty plate of turkey schnitzel. The meat pounded flat and rolled in egg wash, flour and bread crumbs and then fried was a plate that made me want to get back out in the woods as soon as possible!

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