It was opening day in Tennessee. The Game Commission had moved the date two weeks later than usual, and the limit had been reduced as well. But I went because I always go. I go to the place where I know I am most likely to hear a few gobblers. The commission has been correct. Once, the woods reverberated with gobbles. During the last few years, not so much. This morning was different. I arrived just before shooting light. Since I had not previously located these birds, I knew I would just wait until the first tom revealed his location and try to set up as close as I could. The plan went well. The pleasant surprise was I heard multiple gobbles both near and far. As I said, I hadn’t heard that in years. There were at least two toms that were together. The double gobbles have always flushed me with excitement. This time was no different, except I knew that sounds and proximity were no guarantee of success. I set up as close as I thought I could without being located. After all, it was beginning to break day and I knew I would never beat the ever-seeing eye of any turkey in a tree. I hunkered behind a tree-lap, leaning against a fence. It was not the most comfortable or the most advantageous, but it would have to do. Sure enough, the hoot of an owl revealed that most of the birds were now on the ground. But only most, because I began to see bird after bird fly down from their roost into the field in front of me. I waited with my gun ready. It didn’t take long for a line of birds to begin to file out in front of me. The last were four gobblers. The last one is now in my fridge. And it all happened before 6:45 am. It was success on opening day with a 10 ½ inch beard to prove it. I love it when a good plan comes together. Oh, there’s one really important detail to mention. The landowner let me know the night before where the birds had roosted. You thought it was all me because I’m the one who called, and I’m the one who pulled the trigger, and I’m the one who tagged the bird. And that’s what most people would rightly think. But this doesn’t happen without someone who blessed me behind the scenes.
There is no doubt, over the years, any success I have had has come because of those who most of you never see, hear, or read about. They are the ones who put me in front of people by their prayers, gifts, or extra efforts. They are my behind-the-scenes friends. They may be out front in their own profession, but for me, they are the ones who make any success I may have, happen. They are part of the team I am on. And while my part within that team may be writing or speaking, there is absolutely no way I could do anything without them. I hope you understand how important you are. I hope you understand how God has gifted you and that without your gift applied to the team, the team suffers. With it, we win. Others win. God wins. And we are blessed.
Gary has written the Outdoor Truths article for 20 years. He has also written four books which include compilations of his articles and a father/son devotional. He also speaks at wild-game dinners and men’s events for churches and associations