Jenifer Flanagan was brimming with anticipation as she waited expectantly for a gobble in the quiet pre-dawn darkness at her hunting camp near Topton in Lauderdale County.
“I was waiting for the crows to get cranked up and start up that old gobbler,” said Flanagan. “But I didn’t even have to wait on a crow because a bird gobbled across the cutover behind me. Then another one answered him down in the hollow in front of me.”
Flanagan, Bass Pro Shops fishing manager at the Pearl store, had a Bob Martin Hen’s Breath mouth call in and was ready for action.
“The bird in the cutover was hotter than the one in front of me,” Flanagan said. “I’d call and they’d gobble their heads off. I’d call and yelp and all that and the one in the cutover would sound closer and then he’d gobble again and sound like he was going back further away.”
“I’d be quiet for a while and listen to them gobble back and forth. Then I’d cut and yelp and they’d gobble a little more.”
Then came the worst sound a turkey hunter working a gobbler could hear...
A shotgun roared out in front of Flanagan, followed by a deafening silence.
“I didn’t hear any more gobbles so I thought, ‘man, they got my bird’ because I didn’t hear him another time,” she said.
Flanagan moved back behind her original set up for a few minutes and called a bit with nary a response. Then the hunter got an assist.
A crow flew over and a lusty old tom belted out a thunderous gobble behind her.
“Then another bird screamed out a gobble right in front of me,” Flanagan said. “I cut and did an excited yelp and he answered me right back.
“I waited a little bit and then cut and yelped again in a little different pattern and he answered right back again. He was so close that I got my gun up and the next time he gobbled he was right outside my field about 80 yards out and he about scared me to death.”
As gobblers sometimes do this one circled around and came in from the side silent.
“I looked up and he came in strutting and drumming and made a beeline for the decoys as he was sizing that jake up,” Flanagan said. “He blew up in full strut and I waited for him to run that neck back up.
“When he did I gave him a headache with a load of Magnum Blend.”
Flanagan’s bird was her second trophy gobbler of the year and weighed 19½ pounds, had a 10½-inch paintbrush thick beard and nearly 1¼-inch sharp curved spurs. After the hunt Flanagan hung the gobbler up on a limb by his spurs only, no strings, or ropes needed.
A true limb-hanger was her reward.