The first two days of my spring season a couple of years ago were encouraging: My hunting partner and I heard and saw plenty of birds near the Minnesota River in southwestern Minnesota.

But none of the big toms strutted within shotgun range. So, rolling the dice, the next morning we elected to try another farm several miles away.

Hiking in the dark, we set up our blind and decoys on the edge of the woods near the crumbling foundation of an old homestead. But unlike the previous two mornings, Day 3 broke with only the sound of Canada geese on the nearby river.

For three hours, we never heard a turkey, despite our persistent calling.

It appeared we had made a bad bet switching farms.

Then, shortly after 9 a.m., with the sun shining on a warm spring day, I mimicked a lonely hen, and instantly came a loud gobble behind us.

I quietly shifted my chair to the other side of the blind and called again.

"Gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble," came the response.

The bird moved quickly toward us. Then not one, but two big toms, side-by-side, stepped out of the woods, eyeing our decoys. I shouldered my shotgun and my buddy put his hands over his ears.

But the birds were too close together. One shot would kill both. So I waited, my heart pounding, afraid they would spook.

Finally they both came a few steps closer, one ahead of the other. I squeezed the trigger and dropped the bird nearer to us.


Doug Smith