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The Sportsman's Corner

Bob's Fall Gobbler


November 7, 2019

Courtesy of Richard Tate

Bob Tate shot this 16-pound gobbler with a 6-inch beard in 2018.

Last fall, my son, Bob, and I did not get to hunt together during the autumn turkey season. Because of the heavy rain that occurred on the first day, I did not hunt. Bob, like our friend "Scout," spent a fruitless day hunting in the inclement weather.

During the couple of evenings he got out during the first week, he was unable to run down any turkeys. On the Saturday ending the first week of the season, Bob made a long-hike hunt on one of his favorite game lands. "I didn't even see a scratch," he lamented.

"I know the season's over around here. But, you live in WMA 4D. You have another week to hunt there. Maybe you can run into one," I said.

On Wednesday after work, Bob had time for a hunt on a big mountain not far from his home. He called that evening. "Dad, I ran into a half dozen gobblers. When they came close enough, I shot at the closest one. I don't know how, but I missed him. When I looked where he had been standing when I shot, there wasn't even a feather."

I knew how he felt. It's discouraging when you miss a turkey, something Bob is unused to. He has missed few turkeys in his life.

He went to a shooting range the next evening. His gun was shooting properly. He realized that he is human and that he had just missed the bird.

He got home in time to hunt on Friday after work, and he called. "I've got them roosted. I'm going to set up there in the morning.

"Be careful. It's supposed to snow tonight. Things might be slippery in the morning."

He did not call me till Saturday afternoon. "Well, Dad, I got one," he told me excitedly. "He's a nice gobbler with a 6-inch beard. In the morning, they walked away from me in the sleet and snow. I decided to hang in there and call every so often. I admit that I got a little cold, but it was the last day. They finally came back after 1:00. It took a while, but one came close. I concentrated and got him."

I jumped into my truck and zoomed the 25 miles to Bob's house to take a few photos. When he cleaned the 16-pound gobbler, I was amazed to help Bob count the 50 acorns in the bird's crop. I had long believed acorns were overrated as turkey food; but after that, I have had to change my mind.


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