Day four at Buffalo Mountain Ranch began at the crack of dawn. Rick Worley, the ranch hunt manager, suggested that Jim and I shift our stands to the southeastern section of the ranch. There were two food plots near some cliffs that the birds liked to roost near.
Dawn found me at one. The cliff was probably 60 feet high, across a creek and about 60 yards from the food plot. I was set up between the food plot, and a section of trees north of the cliff, where Rick told me the birds were roosting. I was there in plenty of time. The sky was just beginning to lighten when I set up my stand in a hollowed out cedar bush.
As the morning blossomed, toms began gobbling behind and to my left. I could count at least seven separate gobblers sounding off. For nearly a half an hour I listened as one then another tom would announce his presence. I was pumped! I was sure I was in turkey hunting heaven.
As I continued to listen, I heard birds flying down, but nothing came my way. I heard hens softly calling, and toms answering, but no birds moved toward the food plot near which I was set up.
Jim was also hearing lots of birds. Jim was likewise set up near cliffs, about 500 yards from me. The cliffs there were much higher and a real site to see. Jim was overlooking a very large valley where the ranch had two separate food plots and supplemental feeders situated.
Jim too, seemed to be surrounded by gobbling toms, but like me, he didn't see a single bird this morning. It seems the birds first objective this morning was not the food plots we were watching.
Evening found us heading back to these same cliffs. Our expectations were high. This was the same general area that Greg and Fred Abbas, of A-Way Outdoors had tagged their birds.
But in spite of our expectations, Jim only had two hens come in. I had six hens come in to my stand, but there were no toms courting them.
But as the day started, it ended. As evening fell, both Jim and I heard many toms crowing from their roosts. We had found that the birds were call shy. I did virtually no calling all day. But as I heard one gobbler sounding off just before dark, and he was still on the move, I gave it try.
I could hear the tom working his way toward me. I would softly call, he would answer and work closer. His call would rattle my cage. I knew he was close, but the cover was such that I couldn't see him. It soon was clear that he had come as far as he would come without seeing this "hen". His next gobble was further away, and soon he was gone. I was pretty sure I didn't spook him, but he was just too cautious to come into the open.
It was hard to believe that we could have heard so many birds and not seen one tom.
But the evening was not over. Ranch manager, Larry Pitcox, invited us on a varmint hunt after dark.