I have been blessed with many great waterfowl hunting experiences in my lifetime, but other game seems to elude me with great success. Not that I haven’t seen my share of really nice deer or had close encounters with gobblin’ toms, but they always seem to get the upper hand. This past Sunday afternoon was my best chance to date to fill a turkey tag. I got up to the hills at about 2:00 Sunday afternoon, I had never hunted turkey in the afternoon, so I figured what the heck. I headed north from the camp house on foot on the county road. I ducked into the woods on a hilltop about a half mile from camp to see if I could strike a gobbler. After a few minutes of calling with no replies from a turkey, I decided to head further north. Stopping and calling every 100 yards or so still with no success, I ran into one of the guys that work on my family’s farm. He was planning on hunting the north end of the property so after a little conversation I told him I would head back toward the south end around the creek that feeds a lake on adjacent property. There always seems to be some gobblers around that lake. We split and I walked about a half mile back to where  I needed to leave the county road. The county road runs on a hilltop and at the bottom of the hill a field was cleared out of the woods. This is the field my uncle deer hunts in. He has a hydraulic deer stand because he was in a crop dusting crash that left him paralyzed. I have hunted turkey in this field but they have been reluctant to enter it, always staying just inside the woods. About halfway down to the field I heard a gobbler. He was somewhere around the creek. Sweet, maybe I can get on him. I quietly crept through the field and into the woods between the field and creek. I yelped a couple of times and the gobbler fired off again. He knew where I was. I had to move quickly. I have heard that gobblers can come in very fast late in the afternoon. I wanted to get as close as I could without beeing seen so I hit the call again. He fired back at me, seems like he’s moved toward me from where he was the last gobble. I needed to find a better spot to set up. I moved again about 50 yards to the north and found a clear spot about 20 yards wide, this should be perfect. I saw a tree that had been cut down on the edge of the clearing I could sit behind. I quickly set up a hen decoy about 15 yards behind me and to my right. He should be able to see it good. I sat back down behind the tree keeping my vest on. The vest I have has a frame built in the back that you lean against like a chair back and a cushion attached to the bottom to sit on. Within 2 or three minues I see that blue head then his fan. Man, this is going perfect, just like on t.v. His fan looks full but he’s in the edge if the thick stuff. I can’t tell how big his beard is. This is where he tips the scale to his favor. Instead of stepping out into the opening, he starts going to my left. What?! This is the absolute worst thing that can happen. I shoot left handed so I set up for all of my shots to be in front and to my right.  I’ve got all that covered well, but I can’t turn left. It is really thick to my left and no real clear shots. He’s going to make a semi-circle and come up to the decoy from behind me. This has to be a smart mature bird. As he continued to circle to my left, there was enough brush between us, I eased the gun to my right shoulder and turned in that direction at the same time. But I can’t turn far because I have left my vest strapped on. So I’m twisted as for as I can the other way, with my gun on my off shoulder. I’ve got one small opening, not a clear shot, but as close as I’m going to get before he’s too far behind me. I’m waiting, with my sights covering that opening, for him to step into it. He pauses, CRAP, did he see me moving? He starts walikng again, whew, closer, closer, closer, BLOOOOOM, I squeeze the trigger and he starts running. I just missed the best chance I’ve ever had to take a mature gobbler. My heart dives from my throat to my gut. I can’t believe it. Everything was going so good. Why!? Why?! Why?!  This is why, the turkey is the most humbling, frustrating, hardest animal I’ve ever tried to hunt. Just when I think man, I’m finally going to get one, all of the failed attempts in the past are finally going to come to an end, and Murphy’s Law rears it’s ugly head once again. Me and Murphy have become well acquainted when it comes to hunting deer and turkeys. On one hand I can say at least I had the experience, I got the chance to take a mature tom. On the other hand, I could throw this gun as far as I can. But that wouldn’t accomplish anything, just tear up a gun. Live and learn, that’s what they say. It will just make finally getting that ol’ longbeard a little sweeter when it comes. And so they say, “that’s why it’s called huntin’ and not killin’ “