Men and Boys Fellowship

Crosshorn Ministries Literature

What in the world could scare a grown man so suddenly and shockingly that he would find himself, in a nano second, frizzed out like a cat—doing a four point spread eagle, with the claws fully extended? We’re talking about being suspended somewhere between gravity and “what the heck has got a hold of me?” —afraid to either come down or look up? We’re talking about being scared weightless!

Yes, that was me. Under a tree, in the dark, and I thought I was alone. Wrong.

We have all heard of the famous “out of body” experiences. No, I’ve never died, seen a light or glided through the tunnel. But an encounter with the famous Florida Osceola Wild Turkey definitely changed my perspective. About several things. First, the story of my hunt.

The Famous Osceola

Trying to harvest a big torn turkey during the Spring Gobbler season here in Florida can be a real slow, tedious process—and it is almost always nerve racking. The Florida Osceola turkey has been described as one of the most difficult animals to harvest, as he is extremely wary, nervous, cautious, and frankly, he seems to be made out of all eyeballs. Some say that an Osceola Gobbler can spot a man’s eye blink at one hundred yards and these birds definitely are suspicious of anything and everything.

Spring 2006

I walked through the early morning darkness down a dirt road to a favorite spot, where, a few weeks earlier, I had arranged a simple turkey blind using an old hay bale, some pine boughs and a few scrub bushes—under a massive Florida Live Oak with a base twice the width of my shoulders. Upon arriving at my homemade set up in the predawn darkness, I could barely see that the cows had knocked my whole blind over and dragged the hay bale ten yards or so from my tree. Yuck.

As quietly as possible, I rebuilt the blind as best I could in the dark, and then quickly set out my three decoys—a Jake and two hens, about twenty-five yards out. Then I sat down to settle in and await first light.

After a few minutes and a morning cardinal or two, some light was breaking and I thought I heard something up a tree about forty yards to my left. Then my eye caught the flickering motion of a hen turkey flying from one limb to another. “Wow, that was close,” I thought. Then I figured that whenever she flew down, she might land really close to my decoys. And, if there were any gobblers around, it should be a great show.

And yes…it was. Sort of.

Shock Gobbled By A Shocked Gobbler!

Unbeknownst to me, a large turkey gobbler had apparently roosted overnight in a pine tree, right over my head. He was literally in a pine tree right next to the oak I was sitting under.

That was close. Way too close!

In the bare night shadows, I had slipped in, right under his perch where he was maybe twenty feet up. I don’t really think either of us knew the other was there. I certainly had no idea.

So there I was, sitting quietly in the dark, awaiting the new day, just relaxing and enjoying those unmistakable, delicate early morning wake up sounds of the woods—when it happened.

A crow cawed off in the distance, and obviously really upset the big gobbler—as that big ole boy reacted with a huge double shock gobble that flat out scared the living daylights out of me!! Double decibel shock gobbles just a few feet over my head. It was so close, it sounded like it was touching me.

Adrenaline shot through my entire body at the speed of light and I must have looked like a spread eagle cat, slow motion hovering a few inches off the ground—afraid to breathe, waiting for the reverberation of the gobble echo to end.

My eyes must have been as wide as white saucers as I guess I thought that the devil had ambushed me for sure. I grabbed my heart to make sure I still had my soul.

Scared … me … to … death!! The GOBBLER HAD SHOCK GOBBLED ME!

I finally caught my breath, amidst crazy palpitations of my heart and managed to slowly cat look my eye up to where the bird was sitting. I could see the bird’s silhouette perfectly in the pine tree. My next thought was,”I am way too close to this bird.”

In Florida, it is illegal to harvest a bird off the roost, so I was trying to figure out which way he would fly down when, suddenly, he gobbled again, and pitched down—back over my right shoulder. He had flown down exactly opposite of the way that I had thought he would go. And he landed out of sight.

I waited a few seconds, and then hit my slate call with a couple of soft purrs. He gobbled right back, probably fifty or sixty yards out, but well out of sight. He was quickly joined by two or three hens and a Jake. Over the next half hour, I tried everything I knew to get this bird to come back to the decoys. No luck. He was on a mission—away from my position. There went my trophy, several meals, and my hope for my first long beard.

The Stalk

The big ole bird continued to move further and further away, I decided to attempt a parallel stalk. I knew that this can be a bad idea while turkey hunting, but I figured it was my only chance. The woods provided me good cover adjacent to the pasture and I ended up moving about three hundred yards to try to cut him off.

No luck.

Then, things changed. Quickly.

He must have decided to retrace his steps and he did—as he circled his way back towards his roost tree. I snuck parallel, back in the woods and managed to work my way all the way back to my original set up by the decoys.

I sat down behind the hay bale again and decided to yelp a time or two and see where he was As soon as I hit the slate call, he gobbled right back at me, and he sounded close. He was inside fifty yards and coming from behind my oak tree set up.

I hunkered down and, reaching in to my call bag, I slipped out my gobble call, which sounds like a young Jake—in love. I thought I’d see if that old boy was looking for a fight.

I shook the gobble call and that big bird thundered right back and came running my way. Guess he was more of a fighter than a lover.

I looked up to see the two hens break through the brush, semi circle my decoys and then walk on off to my left.

Then I saw the gobbler coming in, circling about fifty yards out, gobbling a few times, but not strutting. Just eyeballing those decoys and looking over my fake Jake.

He would not come any closer, but swung out and made a slow arc around my position. The two hens decided to walk parallel to a fence to my left, and I figured that the tom would follow them.

He did.

And when he got in the one clear spot that I could see, I squeezed the trigger of my twelve gauge Charles Daly and the number six shot dropped him on the spot.

Two hours and twenty minutes, from the first gobble.

I ran over and got my bird. He had a nice ten and a half inch beard, one and one fourth inch spurs and he weighed eighteen pounds and five ounces—nice for an Osceola turkey.

Forty six yards and … my first longbeard!!

The Rest of The Story

Yes, for a turkey hunter, that was a great day. And one that I will never forget. I was so proud of that one gobbler that I got him mounted (along with my wallet), we ate the meat and I’ve told the story a hundred times.

Yes—that ole bird really scared me. The Shock Gobbler encounter was so sudden and unexpected. About as quick as my pull of the trigger.

In the woods, things can happen quickly and unexpectedly. In a flash, life itself can be over. No one likes to think about death, but…it happens. If you are a hunter or fisherman, you know this. So really, the most important question any man or woman can answer is…am I ready (prepared) to die?

You think, “Hey, I want to live, not die!” My hunter friend, a man is not ready to live, until he is ready to die.

If you don’t know where you’re heading after you die, how can you enjoy any day? What is waiting for you on the other side of life?

What happens after your last hunt?

And, what preparations have you made for your soul?

There is an eternity awaiting every hunter, fisherman and outdoorsman.

Friend, are you ready to meet God?

If you got “Shock Gobbled” right in to eternity, where would you end up?

I have great news for you.

I believe that a man or woman, boy or girl, teen or senior—all can know that they have eternal life.

How? By simply accepting Jesus Christ as one’s personal Savior. It’s actually simple. Do this:

First, admit that you are a sinner.
(Romans 3:10) “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one…”
(Romans 3:23) “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God…”

Next, acknowledge that only Christ can save you. You can’t save yourself.
(Romans 5:8) “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
(Romans 6:23) “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Then, pray a simple prayer, in faith, and believe—in your heart— and you can know that you have eternal life.
(Romans 10:9-10) “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in
thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man
believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
(Romans 10:13) “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

In fact, you can settle the whole matter, once and for all in just this moment. Outdoor friend, pray this prayer:

“Dear Lord,
I realize that I am a sinner, But, I want to be saved. Please forgive me for all my sins. Jesus, please come into my heart, and save my soul. I receive you, Jesus, as my Lord and Savior. Help me to live for you, all the days of my life. Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul. In Jesus name, Amen.”

My friend, that’s it! That’s all there is to it. If you have sincerely prayed this prayer, and meant business with God, you have taken the biggest step of your life…the step into eternal life.

And I would like to share in your joy. Please feel free to either write me a note or send me an email regarding your decision. I would be happy to correspond with you as we share experiences walking with the Lord and walking in the woods. I will be praying for you to grow in your new relationship.

Thank you. And may God bless you—is my prayer.