Doubling Up On Spring Toms

Roger Lewis has been one of less than a handful of men who taught me how to hunt the wild turkey in my younger years. He has also taught his own boys and is currently in the process of passing along his knowledge and experience to his son-in-law, Mike Hamski. Hamski has been a quick study, and has already taken a couple of birds on his own.

But Hamski and Lewis started out hunting shoulder-to-shoulder and they still enjoy sharing a couple of sunrises each season together under the same tree. A few years ago, I wrote a very well received article about these two leveling a pair of jakes as the birds mistakenly fell for Lewis’ masterful calling and strolled into gun range. A couple years later they called in two adult toms in N.E. Missouri and doubled up on them, as well.

In all my years of turkey hunting, in over a dozen states, with a hundred different hunting companions, I have yet to be part of a double kill. But for Lewis and Hamski, it is becoming routine, instead of an exception to the rule. Once again, in April of 2007, these two guys managed to dump a couple of trophy birds with back-to-back shots.

When two gobblers come in to two hunters, two gobblers should go down. (Photos by Mike Roux)

Pair Hunt Together
The Missouri and Illinois seasons opened on the same day in 2007. I took a big gobbler in Adams County, Illinois, on opening day. Lewis and Hamski arrived on Friday and I told them they would have the whole farm to themselves. My middle stepson, Spencer, had come home from college to hunt the weekend and asked me to call for him. I could not say no.

Lewis and Hamski left my house early, well ahead of Spencer and me. They arrived in plenty of time and walked right to the north blind. That makes it sound as if everything was perfect about their plan. However, we all know what happens to the best laid plans. As they approached the gate at the very edge of the timber, they pushed four birds off their roosts. They both expressed to me their frustration when this happened, but decided to stick with their plan.

Their first set up in the north blind produced lots of gobbling, but no toms were close enough to really start up a conversation. After about an hour they made a move to the top of the next ridge to the south. This would effectively split the distance between them and the gobbling. Their move was quiet and efficient. Once again, they sat down under the same tree.

Lewis began a calling a sequence, but all was quiet. Before long, Hamski fell out of love with the view he had of the ridge and told Lewis he was going to move about 10 yards toward the crest, to gain a better vantage point. This allowed the two hunters to be able to watch each other’s back. This small adjustment proved to be the best move of the morning.

Double-teaming spring gobblers can pay off big, as it did in Missouri for Mike Hamski (left) and his father-in-law, Roger Lewis.

Lewis made another run of unanswered calls on his Mountain Screamer box call. The lack of response prompted him to declare it “Snack Time.” He got out his water bottle and a cheese and cracker snack. According to Lewis, he was crunching heavily when he heard Hamski whistle quietly, to get his attention. As Lewis looked at him, Hamski motioned slowly to Lewis’s right and raised his gun. Lewis knew immediately that he was in trouble.

Two Gobblers Approach
Hamski was staring down his barrel at two approaching gobblers being trailed by a single hen. The birds were walking straight for the source of the calls — straight for Lewis. As the birds got within 20 yards, Hamski had to make a decision and make it fast. If the toms went much closer to Lewis, he would not have a safe shot. It was do-or-die and Hamski made the right move.

As Hamski leveled the trailing tom, Lewis swung his 12-gauge quickly to his shoulder, pointed his gun in the direction of the commotion and looked down his barrel at the head of a standing gobbler at 15 yards. It happened too quickly to analyze, but he figured Hamski had missed. Lewis fired and as his bird began to do the death flop, Hamski ran over and put his foot on the tom’s head. 

“I got him!” Hamski yelled with excitement. “I got him!”

“You’re out of your mind!” Lewis responded. “I killed that bird.”

“I know you did,” Hamski said. “I killed the one over there,” he said as he pointed to the other dead turkey.

Once again this pair of lucky hunters teamed-up to put the hurt on another pair of spring gobblers. This is at least the third time they have pulled this off. That may not be a record, but it’s a pretty good average.

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