As told by Sergeant Major (retired) Glen Simpson

SITUATION: 12 April 2009, North Central Kentucky, winds calm, 38 degrees and the turkeys gobbling

MISSION: Seek-out and harvest the elusive gobbler, without being detected and without mission failure!

With one gobbler in the vest of a new turkey hunter the week prior, Chris and I set out for the second of three missions to get new hunters addicted to chasing those big birds of the spring.

Early morning found us loaded up and ready to go as we headed out to one of the prime areas on Fort Knox. We arrived early enough to make the short walk with our new hunter, camera gear and the three of us to the spot where we thought the birds would be perched and sounding off at first light.

It wasn’t long before the woods began to come alive with the rising of the sun. Whippoorwills began their morning song ritual; crickets started chirping, followed by a distant hoot of an owl. Then from out of the timber the sound that we as turkey hunters all look forward too…the king of the spring…yes, the faint gobble of a big old thunder chicken!
After a tactical huddle the decision was made to close the distance on the gobbler. Quickly cutting the distance to half, Chris owl called to locate the bird and he answered on queue at about 200 yards. This time we cautiously closed the distance as not to bump the unaware gobbler from his roost. Closing to what we believe to be 100 yards the bird became very vocal. Stopping to listen we could hear the reason…yeap, yelp, there she was between us and him and letting him have all he wanted! Now what? She’s to close to him to flush so the only thing to do is see if she’ll respond to soft calling. Chris pulled out the slate and gave her an ear full and they both responded! We might be in the game.

It was getting pretty light by now so we decided to set up and try calling the hen into our location. We put out King Strut backed off about 20 yards and started calling softly. The tom responded and we could tell he was on the ground and closer. Unfortunately, he wasn’t vocal anymore and we knew he had made link-up with the hen. In this situation, less is better, so we gave them both periodic soft calls just to let them know we were there.

About twenty minutes later we could here them scratching in the leaves just down hill to the left of our ambush position. With more enticing soft calls and the now visible King Strut the big mature gobbler broke from the hen to run off the intruder and safe guard his prize. The tom came in spittin and drummin as he tried to bump King Strut out of his turf. The sun was to his back making the scenery picture perfect, the moment was right, and the hammer fell! Two new hunters with two great birds and a day that they will always remember. Priceless!

Mission complete! Until next time… waiting for helicopter extraction and follow-on orders.

P.S. As always, let’s all keep our Soldiers and their families in our hearts and prayers and especially our fellow Drury Outdoors team member and my best friend, Command Sergeant Major Ken Barteau and his Soldiers. God Speed!