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Blindsided in Sonora

Blindsided in Sonora

The thermometer read a scorching (for turkey season) 88 degrees when Ted Jaycox from Tall Tine Outfitters and Linda Powell from Mossberg joined me in the blind. Our hiding spot was nestled beneath the canopy provided by several big sycamore trees, but it was still hot even in the shade. I considered taking a dip in the cool creek running behind the blind, but within the first 10 minutes Linda spotted a Gould's hen 120 yards away. So much for the swim.

Soon several more hens and two jakes appeared with the first bird, and then a longbeard joined the group. The gobbler ignored my pleas to come within range, and he had no interest in the jake and breeding hen decoy combo Ted had staked out. He was content to feed among the ladies, and it seemed like he was afraid to show he was a man. Two hours later, we found out why.

With 30 minutes of light remaining, a series of strong gobbles came from the hills behind the blind. Now here was a gobbler proud to be a gobbler, and he announced his progression toward the creek bottom loudly and often. It wasn't long before Ted, peaking out the back of the blind, saw the long-legged bird striding down the ranch road toward the blind. I figured there was no reason to call; the tom was on a direct course toward our setup. The increasing volume of his gobbles made it obvious he would be within range soon, even though I couldn't see him.

I soon heard his footsteps in the leaves, and then his red and blue head popped into view, framed by the blind window on my right and not more than 15 yards away. He was on a mission, moving fast and determined to quickly reach either our decoys or the real birds which were still hanging out in the sycamore grove. Luckily, his march took him behind a wide tree trunk, and I threw the gun to my shoulder as soon as he was out of sight.

When the longbeard reappeared, the green fiber-optic front sight of the Mossberg 535 found his waddles. I clucked sharply to make him stop, but instead he answered with another gobble midstride. His head snapped upright following his gobble, and I pressed the trigger. The Federal Premium 3rd Degree load did its job, and I blindsided my first Gould's. The big bird weighed almost 22 pounds. They grow 'em big in Mexico!

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