John's Journal...

The Misery of a Miss

The Redemption Gobbler

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Most veteran gobbler takers belong to a secret fraternity, but few will admit their membership. This fraternity's painful and memorable initiation develops a bond for life that comforts the members and will help you when you join the group. You can recognClick to enlargeize members when they use certain secret passwords like, “Been there, done that,” “Yeah, buddy, I know how that feels,” “Get over it, I've done it too,” and “Only the people who don't hunt them don't miss them.” Members of the fraternity also communicate differently. When someone describes how he's missed a turkey, one of his fraternity brothers will simply smile and nod his head. Then both men know that they belong to the Misery-Of-A-Miss Fraternity.

At 11:15 a.m., we found our third gobbling turkey of the morning. Brad Harris, well known hunger and videographer, sat down to call about 20-yards away from me and out of sight. The longbeard came in with a jake and two hens and passed less than 30 yards from me. However, I didn't take the shot. I couldn't. I was so terrified I'd miss my third gobbler the day that I let the bird walk past me and toward Harris. The turkey had gobbled his brains out. I knew if he came back by me I'd have to take a shot. In the corner of myClick to enlarge eye I saw the white of his head moving toward me, and I prayed the sinner's prayer: "Lord, I know I've been an arrogant snot. I know I'Click to enlargeve done many things wrong in my life, and I know I've already missed two turkeys this morning. But Lord, please help me with this shot. I know that if I don't bag this bird, I'll be forever damned. Please, Lord, help me make this one shot a good one."

I now could spot the gobbler at 20 yards, head erect, standing in a shaft of light that seemed to give off a heavenly glow.  As I squeezed the trigger, I uttered my final prayer, "Please, Lord." Boom! Only the turkey hunters who have shot and missed can know of my relief when that gobbler went down like a ton of bricks. I felt as though someone had lifted all the sins and worries of the world off my shoulders, and I could re-enter the world of turkey hunters. My ego had taken a badly-needed beating, but I once again felt right with the world. Harris, a true brother in the Misery-Of-A-Miss Fraternity, put his burly arm around my shoulder after I picked up my bird. He told me with a smile, "Bubba, I knew you'd get your bird today. Don't worry about those first two misses. I miss turkeys too."

Tomorrow: Credentials for the Misery of a Miss Fraternity

Check back each day this week for more about "The Misery of a Miss "

Day 1: Missing with the Crowd and the Joy of the Get-Back
Day 2: The Wide Open Miss
Day 3: My Greatest Miss
Day 4:The Redemption Gobbler
Day 5: Credentials for the Misery of a Miss Fraternity


Entry 453, Day 4