When you’re listening before sunrise or wondering whether to move to another spot, take a moment to consider whether it’s a mistake or smart move. Then, decide and do it.

The first wild turkey I ever saw strut across a field toward my setup hit the magic spot. Everything was copacetic. The bird had gobbled strutted a bit and then came across the field toward us.

“Shoot,” whispered Johnny Sikes, who along with his brother, Ricky, guided at the now closed Landmark Lodge in southwest Alabama. “Shoot him … now.”

The last we saw of the bird was it soaring higher amid the trees. The brothers were unhappy. I didn’t know what was going on. This was my first hunt, first bird, first everything. I loved it, other than missing that gobbler. They asked to see my shotgun, an older 12-gauge pump I’d had for 20 years.

“Improved cylinder?!?! What are you doing with this?” they sputtered. “That’s like throwing a handful of sand out there.”

Since then, I’ve killed a few birds and missed a few more. Mistakes, I’ve made a few. That first one with...READ MORE

by Alan Clemons

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