The ‘Duck’ Meets Up With A Big Daddy Gobbler!

Robert Hoague

The ‘Duck’ and I were invited to bowhunt Wild Turkey Gobblers at Jim Mitchel’s Red Oak Ranch. The day before the season opened we rolled into Blanket, TX the closest town to Jim’s ranch, and met him for lunch at the Whistle Stop, which is one of those places that serve food from their grill, pump gas, sell beer and lottery tickets, and have a variety of items you’d expect to get from a one horse town on a fairly busy Texas highway.
Afterward, we followed Jim to his Red Oak Ranch and he drove us around the areas he thought we would have opportunities to call in some gobblers. We set up a Double Bull, Extra Wide ground blind at a place with a creek 100 yards to our right. The blind was overlooking a small open area. It looked good to everyone.

Early the next morning The Duck and I were in that Double Bull quietly waiting for daylight. As morning came we heard a few long range gobbles but none none where we were. For today I have video duty and the Duck is hunting. 

Soon, a hen walked by only 5 yards from my side of the blind. I let it get out there 50 yards and gave my first call of the day, some crisp hen yelps.


 This gobble was not like the previous ones, this one was close, within 100 yards, in the trees and brush out ahead of the hen. The hen reacted instantly and flew a short distance to our right and quickly disappeared.

We are using the lifelike Dave Smith Decoys hen and jake decoys.

I called but I guess the Gobbler was from the “bird in the hand” school. Things settled down and half an hour later I picked up a Gobbler’s reply from the direction that Mitchel had told us a river was. His gobbles gradually got closer but he went hush mouthed when he was 200 yards away.

Ten minutes later The Duck whispered, “Gobbler.” And I saw a big Tom step out of the woods.

The Gobbler was full strut and obviously had his eyes on our hen and Jake decoys, standing 10 yards from the ground blind. The Duck, (Don Beckwith) put his Range Finder on the  Gobbler and got the yardage reading. We needed to get that Longbeard 40 yards closer.

I gave him a few yelps with my Doug Crabtree mouth call and waited. He walked to the left toward the opposite side of the opening 

He stopped at the edge of the woods. I cut at him, but quietly, and he eased himself closer and stopped. We both waited to see what the other one would do. 

At this point the big Gobbler was 35 yards from us. My choices were to do nothing and see if he came closer on his own; or, give him a little vocal encouragement. 

I watched his head and posture, weighing what he would do now. I made my choice.