Lewand's Desert Gobbler
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By Andrew Lewand

In May 1998, I experienced a turkey hunt that still plays vivid in my mind. I was hunting with my father, Richard, near Red Creek, NY on a 70+ degree day. Right as the sky turned to silver, We heard gobbling in a woods that was across a huge field that We had dubbed the "desert" because of the fact that the field was plowed and groomed, giving it a truly barren appeal. Within minutes, I could see two turkeys peering over a knoll in the field as they investigated my calling and decoy set up. The birds continued on their way showing no further interest in the setup.

Three hours later and no other birds had been spotted. This hunt was turning into an endurance test! I nestled in the shade of a poplar tree and drifted asleep. I awoke to see a large gobbler in full strut about 100 yards to my right -smack dab in the middle of the desert. I instantly called, but the bird vanished over the lay of the land. Dad was 20 yards away from me, watching the opposite direction. I hurried over to him to varify if He had seen the large Tom. Indeed, He had and was quite excited about its size. At Dad's suggestion, I walked towards the bird to see if I could get another look. As I snuck over the slight ridge, I could see a hen at the edge of a sandpit. "No wonder the Tom didn't come to my calling", I thought to myselfÖ He was henned up!

The real fun was about to begin. Out from behind a bush appeared the Gobbler! I followed a tree line at the edge of the sandpit, getting within 60 yards of the birds. At this time, the hen saw me and ran away. The tom, busy with his strutting sideshow, did not see her leave and apparently, did not know where she was! I took full advantage and emitted some lone hen yelps with my diaphragm call. Sure enough, the Tom came my way. The surroundings were sparse and I knew was in trouble of being detected. The Tom was wary and held up at what seemed to be 50 yards. I put the scope on his head and pulled the trigger. He did a head over heels and quickly succumbed to the trauma of the Federal Premium # 5's. "What a shot", I said to myself in disbelief.

My Bushnell range finder confirmed that the shot was 53 yards. The turkey weighed 22.5 lbs on a certified scale, sported a 9.5" beard and had matching 1.5' spurs. The score of the bird was 72. He is now on permanent display in my game room and a constant reminder of that great hunt with my Dad. Good thing I took his advise and went looking for that bird!

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