At 4:30 that morning I sat in my truck watching huge snowflakes driven by perhaps 40-mile-per-hour winds. When I left the hotel an hour earlier, rain was falling.

The year was 1994, and I was turkey hunting the bluff country of southeastern Minnesota. The heavy snow was accumulating, and it was doubtful toms would gobble. Even if they did, pursuing them while slipping and sliding in noisy rain gear seemed a hopeless tactic.

The evening before, I had put a flock of turkeys to bed. So I had that going for me. I opened the truck door, and away I went.

My plan was to use a single hen decoy while calling. Hopefully I would entice a gobbler to within shotgun range.

Despite the adversities, the strategy worked.

Not long after daylight, a flock of 15 or so turkeys appeared about 200 yards down the field. Only one was an adult tom.

The gobbler, with his harem of hens, ignored my decoy and calling as the birds scratched in the snow for waste corn. At times the wind was so strong the turkeys had to sidestep to keep from falling over.

Finally, just before 9, the flock moved in my direction. The tom's head was bright red and he occasionally strutted. His thoughts had turned from food to procreation.

When he was in range, I touched the trigger, laying the bird motionless in the snow.

The big tom weighed 26.85 pounds, the heaviest I have ever bagged.

Bill Marchel