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Silence Can Be Deadly
By Michael Lee
South Georgia Outdoors and Quaker Boy Pro Staff Member

The gobbler appeared from the pines like he had traveled the route many times. I whispered to Matthew, "There's a gobbler." His eyes changed to a bright white as he peered down to the edge of the food plot straining for a glimpse of the massive bird. The weary Tom slowly inched his way in, eyeing our decoys moving in the wind, with every step. At 30 paces, the magnificent bird began to "puff" up his feathers for his oncoming display towards the adolescent Jake and pair of hens that seemed so real. I called softly on my diaphragm trying to coax him in just a little closer for Matthew.

The morning started out pretty slow for us. My cousin, Matthew Story and I were out well before daylight on our grandfather's farm. We hit the ground running trying to locate a bird on the roost before the sun began its morning wake up call in the Turner County, Georgia sky. We hit the owl hooters for a while, only one gobbler was to be heard from the roost that morning, and he flew down on the other side of a swamp from us. Not giving up, we circled the farm's fields and finally called in a lone hen well after sunrise. Knowing that a move was in order, we decided to gather our things and setup on a food plot filled with rye that had been left over from the previous deer season.

Grabbing the video camera and tripod, I readied myself for a couple of hours of "still hunting" and told Matt to grab his gun and we were off. As we walked the woods road to the food plot, we crossed a hill and all I could see was the amazing fan of a gobbler. The bird was facing away from us, so we backed down the hill and hit the ground. I called a couple of times, but no response. Five or so minutes had passed and I decided to crawl up to the crest of the hill and give it a look. The gobbler was gone. Did we spook him? Were there other birds? We'll never know.

After scrounging around to find a good setup for covering the food plot, and setting up our decoys, we settled in and let the woods calm down for a few minutes. I then pulled out my Quaker Boy Screamin' Green Boss Hen diaphragm and began to yelp. Yelp, yelp, yelp, yelp, yelp……..nothing but silence after several series. By now, my thinking was that we had spooked a good bird off and ruined our chances and reached a stalemate. When you are at a "stalemate", that's a chess term when both players are out of moves, and that's how I refer to a time when the turkeys have you pegged, a million different thoughts of what to do, where you messed up, or what you should have done different go through your mind. This time was no different than others.

As I sat there, disgusted with myself, the gobbler appeared! My setup and calling had worked; we coaxed the gobbler in after the disaster. Matt slowly raised his gun and took a bead on the bright blue and red head on the gobbler. The sun glistened off of the long tail feathers of the Tom as they shook in the wind. After looking at Matt with beads of sweat forming on his face, I gave him the "OK" as I videoed the gobbler coming to the decoys. There was a loud roar; Matt had taken his first turkey. This one was special for another reason besides being his first. It was taken on our family's farm. The same place where as youngsters, Matt and I had worked in the watermelon fields, played in the corn fields, and now grown up to hunt on the same ground.

With this hunt, a good tactic was revealed to me that day. When the birds get quiet, you can adjust with them. Go back to the roots of hunting by slowing down, finding a good area that looks "birdy". The area we set up in had lots of sign that gobblers had been in the area. There were strut marks from the wings of gobblers, lots of dusting sites, lots of tracks, and droppings. The farm isn't over run with birds by any means, we just did our homework and setup in an area that we knew birds frequented. We were able to sneak in and get in a good vantage point back off from the patch in the planted pines. By calling sparingly, we didn't give away our exact location so the gobbler came in looking for us, not finding us. The bird then saw the decoys, combined with the calling that lured him in for a good, solid shot.

Hunt safe and God bless,

Michael Lee

For more information about Quaker Boy's outstanding line of quality game calls, visit http://www.quakerboygamecalls.com/


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