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Timeless Turkey Tales

Turkey hunting is a little crazy. A hunter gets up in the middle of the night and ventures into the hardwoods to pretend he's a lovesick hen. With any luck, a goobler comes by sometime later. But it hardly ever works out quite that simply.

Turkey hunting is a little crazy. A hunter gets up in the middle of the night and ventures into the hardwoods to pretend he's a lovesick hen. With any luck, a goobler comes by sometime later. But it hardly ever works out quite that simply.

Here are stories from four hunters about what really happens out there.

The 165-yard belly crawl

It was the fifth and final day of Dick Adams' spring turkey hunt in 2006. Adams, of Superior, and Al Sill of Eau Claire, Wis., were hunting late in Wisconsin's season southwest of Eau Claire.

"There were turkeys around, but we couldn't get them to come to our call," said Adams, 65. "We saw gobblers, but they were all henned up."

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The last morning, he and Sill went their separate ways into the woods. Adams used a crow call and got a gobbler to respond to it. He ventured down a logging road until he figured he was close to where the gobblers were roosting.

"I put a couple decoys in the road," Adams said. "I was trying to do everything by the book."

But when the gobblers flew down from their roosts, Adams realized he had been too close to them. The birds overflew him and dispersed.

"I sat for another hour, and I thought, 'I've blown my big chance here,' " he said.

Adams finally got up and was walking back out along the logging road when he saw gobblers about 200 yards away across a clearing.

"There were three or four gobblers in the open, in full strut," he said. "They had probably eight hens with them."

He tried a few hen calls, but to no avail.

"It was pretty clear they weren't going to leave their harem," Adams said.

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Between the logging road and the clearing was a small fringe of grass and brush. He decided to move behind it, trying to get in range of the gobblers. At first, he walked bent over but felt he was too exposed. So he began belly-crawling, cradling his Binelli Super Black Eagle shotgun in front of him. He crawled and crawled until finally the fringe of grass tapered to nothing. The gobblers were still strutting. They were almost within gun range, but Adams hoped they would move closer.

The hens came his way and walked up onto the road. They looked right at Adams, who tried to play dead.

"I thought, 'Oops. I'm made.' But they didn't spook," he said. "They moved off the road and into the field again."

Soon, the gobblers quit strutting.

"I thought, 'They know something's up. It's now or never,'" Adams said. "I took a bead on the closest bird. I was lying prone, so I was steady."

He touched off a load of No. 6 Heavyshot.

"The bird dropped right in its tracks," Adams said. "I put on my safety and ran toward him because I know they can jump and run away. As I was running, the others took off and came over my head like bombers taking off. That was pretty amazing.

"I got to my bird, and it was dead," he said.

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That was Adams' first gobbler.

Later, he paced off his belly-crawl -- 165 yards.

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