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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
your most frustrating miss?

It was Good Friday, 2022. I had been after a gobbler off and on since the first day of the season. I finally figured out a few things and got set up on the corner of a field where he (or some gobbler) regularly roosted. I was hid well. I yelped every so often on my wingbone with no response. It was about 7PM, and it had been about 15 minutes since I called when I moved to get ready to leave. They would normally be in the corner of the field around 6:15, pretty regularly. (ADVICE: Don't get ready to leave until you are ready to leave.) Suddenly, I heard a gobbler cluck. I was not in the best position for shooting when I heard him cluck, and he emerged into the field a little quicker than I expected. He stood tall at 35 steps, looking my way. Perfect!! I put the dot on his waddles, pulled the trigger, and he flew away, untouched. I was too shocked to throw a fit, cuss, and kick. I just watched him fly off, scratched my head, and walked back to the truck where I set up a target I had in the back of the truck. I aimed at the target and completely obliterated it at the same distance. I can't think of anything other than me pulling the shot that would explain the miss, but I can't visualize me pulling the shot.
 

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Several years back I was hunting a small block of family land that had heavy pressure from the neighbors, one guy in particular. I only had 20 acres, but kept it bushhogged in a way to steer the birds strategically between 3 plots to help me have a good setup. I was getting pictures of a bird every day the last couple weeks of season, between 11-2. He had a very unique beard. Anyway I decided to make the 1.5hr drive and sit till he showed. I heard 1 way off property at daylight, and nothing else. I sat and called every 30 minutes, on the edge of a plot at the top of a hill where I could see the bird coming. I’d gone through a couple bottles of water and granola bars by lunch. It was HOT, like 85 that day by lunch. At 1pm a plane flew over and a bird sounded off across the fence behind me, like 75 yards across a steep bottom. I called once, no response. I knew he was close enough to hear me, so I sat and waited. 45 minutes later he gobbled right on the fence line, to my left. I’m left handed so this is a problem. The fence line has a lot of smaller oaks so I’m well hid, but I also can’t see well down the line. Finally he steps out and gets under a cedar in the shade. For 45 more minutes he stood there and drummed, half strut occasionally. He was probably 60 yards, further than I wanted to shoot. I remember seeing the heat mirage behind him looking across the rest of the field it was so hot. I hadn’t made a sound, there was no need since he could easily see my position. Finally he decided to move and was headed towards the bushhogged road leading to the next plot. As he moved, I slowly moved. He was going to pass right behind a huge pine, and when he did I was going to swing the rest of the way and shoulder up in one motion. He went behind the tree, I made my move, and he came out from behind the tree, trotting of course. Then running. When he was 35 yards and about to turn down the road out of sight I shot. He ducked, and flew. I jumped up to confirm my miss, literally threw my 870 down. Shoved all my shi* back in my vest and stomped my happy a** back to the truck, mad as ****. Gets my blood pressure up just thinking about it now 😖.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Several years back I was hunting a small block of family land that had heavy pressure from the neighbors, one guy in particular. I only had 20 acres, but kept it bushhogged in a way to steer the birds strategically between 3 plots to help me have a good setup.
1. One of the best places I have ever had to hunt was a 6 acre pasture with 5 or 6 skinny cows on it. I killed a ton of turkeys on that place. I could go there any time of day and expect to get on one and usually call him to the field. I only missed one on that place. LOL
2. I, too, am left-handed. It is usually a good thing when you hunt with other people, but the two guys I usually travel with are also left-handed. It makes for some interesting set ups if we don't split up and hunt different spots, which is what we usually do.
 

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I've got so many it's hard to pick just one...

Probably the one that sticks out right now is the last one I had. I was on a property that I have hunted for years but had the timber cut all around it about 3 years prior. The birds had moved around and never roosted in the same spot since the timber changes.

This particular morning I heard a lone gobble way in the distance across the cutover so I just sat still. About an hour goes by and I hear another gobble, but considerably closer and headed at an angle away from me. So I answered back this time and got a response. Knowing I was not in his direct path, I decided to reposition and move where I thought he would go. I had to move probably 250 yards east into some older pine with some heavier underbrush, but with open lanes. I got set up pointed to the north and I hit my call. Nothing doing. I start to hear what I think are footsteps directly to my left which wasn't terrible but not ideal. I wasn't turned far enough to pull a shot, but I didn't feel I could move at that moment. Sure enough, a very small-bodied turkey is heading toward me. I called it a hen, but it turned out to be a pretty nice gobbler dragging what looked to be a beard larger than he was. He couldn't have weighed more than 15 pounds,

All of these things took place extremely quickly as he never stopped to look at me, but he would drum, walk, drum, walk so it was basically a spectator's view now. He got across the best shooting lane that I had and made it into the older pines where he proceeded to find a hill and strut for the next hour. I could see him, roughly 60 yards away. He moved in a circle no more than 10 feet in diameter. He was not in a hurry. He was not bothered that he did not see the hen he knew he heard. He was simply not bothered at all but he was enjoying his day, as was I.

At about the hour mark, he must have decided to find another date, because he broke strut and eased around the worst possible direction he could have gone. I had already circled around on the tree to face the complete opposite direction. When he left he continued to move left forcing me to have to shift around even more. All of the sudden, poof, he's gone. I've lost him. Thin air. I'm now annoyed that a.) the bird got by me after a good chance to take him, and b.) he somehow vanished in front of me at 35 yards.

As usual, frustrated and defeated, I start to pick up my box call, take of my gloves... then I hear the worst noise of them all. PUTT. He was still there. But where?? Apparently, he knew where I was sitting the whole time and just needed a better vantage point. He was watching me the entire time. Now, I'm in a pinch. Gun down, exposed... the wing tuck has happened so he's exiting stage left but chose to go behind a pine tree where I have a quick second to stand up and get a better shot. I get up, gun ready, he pops out and it was like I shot through him. I have no idea where that shot went, but he flew straight up, banked left right in front of me where I tried to make a flying shot but missed again. I never saw a single feather or where pellets hit any brush or trees. I've also never heard or seen that bird again since that miss 3 years ago.

What a hunt, but what a way to learn and relearn some great lessons. One thing that always stands out to me is how much I am not in control in this game. It's humbling.

I've got stories for years, but that one stands out today.
 
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