Report from the 2019 Turkey Season

Opening week of turkey season earlier this year was a disaster to say the least. I was bound and determined to get a turkey before the season was out; so much so, that I decided to enlist the help of a local legend, Buster the turkey slayer. Now as one might imagine having a nickname that ends in turkey slayer gives folks the idea this individual was somewhat of a good turkey hunter. I would later find out just how good! You see, even though we were old friends, I had never hunted with Buster before.
I enlisted his help purely on his reputation. Family and friends alike all claimed the man acted like a turkey at times so it was no wonder he could find them in the woods with little trouble. This was comforting to me seeing how my largest problem to date was locating them at all.

It may help you to envision my friend Buster if I tell you a little about him first, Buster is a good size man not to tall but somewhat round if you know what I mean. He spends all his time in the woods so he has that lumberjack look. Now ‘ole Buster promised me right off we would see some turkeys before the morning was over and that was something I needed to hear as frustrated as I was with my luck so far. It also helped me stay calm as I was trying to follow him through the woods. Following ‘ole Buster was a little like following behind a bull elephant in a tyrant. I kept asking myself how in the world is he not scaring everything within 2 miles from us the way he’s plowing through the underbrush and pine tops but, we just kept pressing on deeper and deeper into the forest. 

Just when I began to think all the stories I had heard about this man were fairy tales he stopped dead still in his tracks and began to shake all over. Scared, and stunned, I rushed over to ask Buster if he was ok. Just as I got up to him, he began to gobble louder and harder than any turkey I had ever heard in my entire life. Never before had I heard anything like it coming from human vocal chords. Certainly, we were not created to make a noise like that I’m sure, but there he was, Buster the turkey slayer, (a legend among turkey hunters) was standing there in the middle of that stand of pines shaking and gobbling like a turkey. Take a minute and let that sink in. Can you imagine what this must have looked like?  This full-grown man standing in the middle of the woods, shaking all over, and gobbling like a turkey, at the top of his lungs. Then, just as quickly as he began to shake and gobble, he fell quiet. As you may imagine, I began to feel like a complete fool; here I was with this nut standing in the woods watching him pretend he can call turkeys with his own voice. Then it happened, a Tom some 60 to 80 yards off began to respond to Busters antics. The next thing I knew Buster began to swing his hips back and forth moving in the direction of the Tom shaking his head slobbering and gobbling as if he had found a new friend. Soon the two turkeys, Um, I mean, Buster and his new gobbling buddy were carrying on a conversation only they could decipher. I stood there in complete amazement trying to take in all I was seeing and hearing, but I have to admit, it was hard not to roll on the ground laughing at all I was witnessing.

Not only had Buster fulfilled his promise of finding a Tom by morning, but now was in deep communication with this bird and daylight was beginning to break. A few moments later as we were closing in, Buster was motioning for me to sit down next to a big pine. Now, Buster had changed his calling tactics from gobbles and cuts to purring noises that could rival any wild hen turkey in the woods. I firmly believe ‘Ole Buster had this Tom completely believing another Tom was in his territory with a love-sick hen and we all know that Tom just couldn’t allow that kind of thing to be happening in his woods. After a few minutes of this I asked him if he ever used a turkey call. He gave me this weird look and said, “whatever for, none of them things can call turkey good as I can.” Moments later we could hear the crackling noise of the Tom as he made his way toward us. I couldn’t help but think I had witnessed a miracle of sort. ‘Ole Buster completely fooled that Tom without ever using an artificial turkey call of any kind. Every call he made were calls he learned to do himself over the years without ever using a single hand or mouth turkey call. It was then that he came into view, his head was redder than a Coke can and in full strut, looking for either his new date or some other Tom to kick some butt. I placed the bead on his red head, squeezed the trigger, feathers flew, and ‘ole Buster jumped up, and before I knew it he had my Tom and was walking back to me with a huge smile saying “now, that isn’t so hard is it’ I smiled back and replied, “No, Buster, not when you’re hunting with the turkey slayer.”