John's Journal... Entry 240, Day 4
THE TOUGHEST OF ALL TURKEYS
The Dream Of The Gould's Gobbler Comes True
Editor's Note: I've written four books and hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles about turkeys and turkey hunting. Two years in a row, I double grand-slammed on North American wild turkeys. I took two eastern's, two Merriam's, two Oceola's, and two Rio Grande's each of those years. Every year I travel the United States during the spring hunting wild turkeys. I believe there is such an illness as a "turkey addiction" because I have it. There's no other hunting sport I enjoy more than turkey hunting, and my dream always has been to take the Gould's turkey of Mexico and last year, I accomplished that dream. If you plan to take a Gould, I've found the place to go, the man to hunt with, and how to make your turkey-hunting dreams come true.
The next morning before daylight my guide picked me up at the ranch house and we traveled about an hour and 15 minutes deep into the mountains. Finally, the guide stopped his truck and we began to walk down the ridge. An owl-hooted, I heard four or five gobblers sound off. Using my Magellan SporTrak Pro GPS I marked the spot on the road where we heard the turkeys gobble, which was in plain sight of the truck. I've learned that I can trust that GPS to get me back to anywhere that I want to come back to. We used the road to get to a small waterhole where there was a small cabin made of cactus. I tried yelping on a diaphragm call and no turkeys gobbled. Next, I yelped on a slate call. Still, I didn't hear any gobbling. I thought surely I could make them gobbler with a box call. But no turkeys answered. Digging around in my vest, I found a small push-button call. When I started yelping on that push-button call, I heard five different turkeys gobble back. The turkeys were about 200-yards away in the bottom of a canyon, so I used an old cattle trail to go to the birds.
The trail ran along the side of the canyon and I plenty of low brush to keep the turkeys from seeing me. After I'd gone about 75 yards, I pushed the button on the little box three times, giving off three yelps and my hat was nearly blown off by the turkeys loud gobbling. The birds were coming in above me. About 10 yards up the mountain, I looked up and saw a small, flat bench and I knew I needed to move up to that bench to have a shot at the gobblers. Dressed in full Mossy Oak camouflage, I crawled up to the bench as quietly as possible, but just as I peeked over the lip of the bench, I spotted a long-bearded gobbler and he spotted me. The turkey was spooked, but it wasn't terrified. It ran off about 30 yards and got behind some bushes. I crawled over the edge of the bench and got my back up against the closest tree, which was only about 6 inches, but I had some brush in front of me to help break up my silhouette. As soon as I sat down and had my Remington on my knee, I took out my push-button box caller and began to cut and cackle.
The gobbler I had spooked immediately began calling back and I heard four other turkeys gobble close. I got low on my gun, and immediately the turkey I had spooked returned from the clearing not 30-yards away. When the bird looked away from me, I yelped one time on my call. Immediately, all five gobblers began to double and triple gobble. Instead of taking the first gobbler, I waited to see what would happen. This was the first time I had ever had Gould's turkeys close to me. I wanted to see what they looked like, even if I spooked them. I wanted to watch Gould's turkey's gobble and strut, so I held my shot and saw four fans coming over the my bench.
TOMORROW: JOHN GETS HIS GOULD'S