Case: On the road again with the itinerant turkey hunter, part three

The big turkey gobbler had been standing in the same place, motionless, for a long time. He was behind a tree, I couldn't see him very well, and - of course - I was in a twisted-up position.

My discomfort was getting worse every second, and yet I knew I could not move. (Turkey hunters will understand.) My buddy Dave Miller was planted beside me, he wasn't moving either, and the minutes crawled by like eons in a beautiful Missouri creek bottom.

Oh wait, I forgot: When we left off on this story last time, we were in the middle of Dave Miller dealing with a turkey, not me. For those who may be late tuning in on this little adventure, I recently went to Missouri to turkey hunt with Mr. Miller, the shotgun product manager and pro shooter at Kansas City-based CZ-USA, which produces some pretty spiffy shotguns.

I have been turkey hunting with Dave the past few years, and it is always a good time. You can always count on him delivering the two most important ingredients for any turkey hunt. One, he will put you in the turkeys, and two, he will see that you are fed well!

Anyway, some of you will recall that in part two of this tale on the road with the itinerant turkey hunter, Dave was putting the sneak on a dreaded field turkey (with a huge beard). I was an observer, sitting in the front row. Dave had to do a low crawl in the rain-soaked field to get in position, and when he unfurled his reaping umbrella, which depicts a large gobbler in full strut, the big bird started his way with no delay.

This turkey walked quickly toward what he took to be an intruder in his playground: 100 yards, 75 yards, most of the time in full strut, this gobbler was closing the gap. I watched in amazement, as I always do when the fanning or reaping technique works. I just can't believe this big ol' turkey is going to walk right into the danger zone. But he did.

I thought Dave would let him get closer, but at about 55 yards, boom! The gobbler was down, I mean he didn't even kick. The Remington Premier TSS loads and the CZ-USA Reaper Magnum shotgun he was using did the job.

Well, as usual, there were lots of high-fives and congratulations. This was a beautiful, big Missouri gobbler with a paintbrush beard. They grow 'em big here in Missouri, and this turkey was 24 1/4 pounds. We get gobblers that big in the mountains where I live in West Virginia, but it is pretty rare.

We got Dave's turkey in the truck. Now what about me?

We decide to strike out for the creek bottom area on this beautiful piece of property Dave has found. Right before we drop down the hill, we decide to call just to be careful, and a booming gobble greets us from the direction we were going. I call a few minutes later and another gobble rings out, this time closer. This turkey is coming!

Now a wild scramble ensues as we try to get hidden before the turkey might come into view. An old barn or shed is right in our path, and we quickly duck in and peek out a back window. Now you are about up to speed to where we were when I started telling you this part of the adventure.

Dave is on my right with a range finder, whispering to me updates on what yard line the turkey is on. I am, as usual, in a strained position and - of course - I can't move. I think maybe several civilizations rose and fell while we waited for this turkey to move, but Dave said it was only a few minutes. Finally, finally, the big gobbler took a few tentative steps and began to go forward.

Watching the gobbler in the Vortex Venom red-dot optic, I realize he is moving at an angle and will soon travel too far to my right and probably get behind some brush. All turkey hunters are familiar with this scenario: The turkey is not getting any closer, and he may get behind something and change his address. It is now or never.

"62 yards," Miller breathes.

I put the dot on the gobbler's neck, say a quick prayer and squeeze the trigger. The shotgun roars, and I lose sight of the turkey for a moment.

Dave is laughing with excitement, and the gobbler is down like he got hit with an anvil. The Remington TSS and the Reaper Magnum have scored again. Even though he is not moving, I get to the gobbler as quickly as I can and thank heaven for the chance to take another beautiful wild turkey.

This one is almost a twin to Dave's bird, although he is a quarter-pound lighter and his beard is not as big. I don't care - he is a big, beautiful Missouri gobbler, and I am so blessed to be here with good friends and great shotguns while enjoying the natural world with both.

Flying home, I study the clouds and think about my shotgun wizard friend Dave Miller, his array of CZ-USA shotguns and how our track record on Missouri gobblers has been very successful. We can't keep up this 100% average, I tell myself, but then I think that is OK.

I know there have to be some barbecue places we haven't hit yet.

photo Contributed photo / Larry Case

"Guns & Cornbread" is written by Larry Case, who lives in Fayette County, W.Va. You can write to him at

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