My Secret Turkey Hunting Spot

April 30th, 2017:
By Eric Crouse,

Some hunting spots are special. Every year we leave home anticipating how awesome the turkey hunting experience is going to be. There was just something about this annual hunting trip to southern Missouri in April of 2017 that had me so excited. After much thought and preparation, I left Tennessee heading north to southern Missouri with my youngest son, Jeremy (Red) Crouse. I always hunt the first week, rain or shine.

We always arrive a couple days before the season opens to set up camp. We hit the bed early to be rested up for the next morning’s hunt. The alarm went off right on time at 4:30 a.m., we jumped into our boots and drove just up the road to what I call my secret spot. After a long walk up a logging road, we entered the beautiful mountains of the Ozarks and stopped on a high ridge to listen for that mountain gobble I’ve longed to hear since last year’s trip.

It was calm at daylight. The whippoorwills were so close I could hear their beaks popping when the turkeys began gobbling in every direction. We headed to the closest bird on the side of the mountain. I’ve hunted this spot over 20 years so I knew the layout of the land. This was Red’s second trip and I believe he was more excited than I was. Nature’s sounds were deafening, the titmouse was singing and the crows were calling out. We let nature shock gobble this gobbler until we got into position. We spent the next 45 minutes jumping around from tree to tree until we got within 100 yards or so and he was already on the ground. I reached for my trusty mouth call and made my first call. He answered almost immediately; his gobble was louder and deeper than any I can remember. I was sure he was an old bird. He responded to the easy calling but it was the loud cuts that made him close the distance. He got in about 50 yards just over the hill and he drummed like no turkey I’ve ever heard. My heart was pounding and I was seeing double, I was torn up. There he was, I saw his tail fan first then his white head. My focus was already on my browning 12 gauge pointing in his direction. One more gobble, and BOOM, it was over. We walked to him and realized that I had just shot a giant of a turkey. His head was the biggest that I’d ever seen.

Eric Crouse with his prized turkey.

That’s why I love hunting in the Ozarks of Missouri because you have an opportunity to harvest old mountain birds. He weighed 27 pounds with 1 ½ inch spurs and a 10-inch beard. We took photos and reflected on the hunt, it was only 7:30 a.m. We spent several more hours sitting around listening to the turkeys gobbling in the distance. I’m so thankful I was able to harvest this beautiful tom in the Ozarks of Missouri with my son on his birthday. I’m already planning next year’s hunt to my secret spot.