Three days into chasing a wily gobbler, with absolutely no success, Rebecca Hall and boyfriend Timothy Fox knew they had to make some drastic changes in strategy.
An hour into the new approach, Hall, 19, had the bead of her shotgun on the head of the targeted turkey.
A few seconds and a beat-up decoy later, Hall was posing for pictures with her best-ever gobbler — a 3½-year-old bird with an 11½-inch beard and 1¼-inch hooked spurs.
The change: The silent approach.
“We had been chasing this gobbler for three days, morning and evening, getting close but with no luck,” said Hall, a Magee native and student at Co-Lin Community College. “We did some light calling to him with no decoys set out but that never sealed the deal.
“So on this particular morning (April 12) we decided to set up in front of an old wooded pond with our hen and gobbler decoys in the field and try no calling at all. The fog rolled in and we thought we would have a long wait but as hunting goes, nothing is as planned.”
Within about 30 minutes of sunrise, their little corner of Simpson County, near her hometown, came to life with turkey activity.
“Around 7:15, three hens stepped out from the woods to our left followed by a jake,” Hall said. “The hens were feeding along side the pond straight towards us. Then all of a sudden we spotted the gobbler stepping out from the wood line.
“He spotted our decoys and headed straight towards them. Knowing it was going to be a difficult situation with the hens 10 yards from us, I managed to raise my gun and get ready to make the shot.”
Hall, who started deer hunting at the age of 7 with her dad and mentor Bobby Hall, stayed calm and was rewarded with quite a show.
“The gobbler walked up to the gobbler decoy and started jumping on it and spurring it,” she said. “He realized something wasn't right about this gobbler, and he turned as if he was about to leave the field.”
In a now-or-never situation, Hall chose the now.
“I took the 30-yard shot with my 20-gauge pump, which is signed by Michael Waddell,” she said. “I jumped up and ran to my gobbler. Little did I know how big he really was.”
Hall was introduced to turkey hunting by her father two seasons ago, and had killed one gobbler with her uncle Mike Grubbs. Her family tree has turkey hunters roosted on nearly every branch, and now she joins them on a limb of her own.
“It is by far the best turkey I have ever killed,” she said. “I am so proud of him. I know a bird like him will be hard to beat but I will continue to turkey hunt every year.”