Saving Tom Longspur: How a young policeman save a turkey on the edge


Active Member
Jan 8, 2014
Clermont County Ohio
After a completely sucky hunt I wrote this this morning. I did about 3 dozen things wrong and still got a shot...and missed...twice.

Saving Tom Longspur:
The story of how a young policeman saved a turkey on the edge

Every spring, thousands of wild turkeys suffer from a condition known as Poultry Anxiety Disorder or PAD. It all starts when, like most species this time of year, turkeys begin to fight over the ladies. Even the biggest, baddest gobblers can lose a fight. After a spur spanking, the beat bird often leaves the flock to watch the action as an outsider only to feel dejection and inadequacies. The following is a story of a young cop helping a suffering tom realize the importance of staying with the flock.
It all started on a cool breezy April morning. The young officer, Jake, had pulled into a spot known to hold many turkeys and often a depressed bird would hang on the outskirts. As Jake walked into the woods, the sound of distant gobbles echoed through the woods. “That’s a big flock, those birds should be fine together” Jake quietly said under his breath. A twig snapped under his foot and he was met with a thunderous gobble from a shadowy figure in the treetops only 40 yds away! Jake ducked behind a tree instantly. He scanned the tree line and picked out a bird shaped silhouette with a long beard dangling from the turkey’s neck. The turkey gobbled again….and again….and again. “How could this gobbler even be breathing?” Jake then realized what was happening. This tom had obviously been excommunicated from the flock. He had roosted a few hundred yards from the rest of the flock all alone, poor fella. Dozens of gobbles rang out from the turkey as the sky began to lighten. It was clear this bird was desperately trying to draw attention to himself and had no regard for his safety. “Another PAD sufferer. I can get this bird the help it needs.” Jake thought. He crawled perpendicular to the roosted turkey and set up a hen decoy. He hoped that the turkey would see the decoy and feel less alone. Maybe he’d finally find a friend! The roosted turkey, later identified as Tom Longspur, spotted Jake and stopped gobbling. “Phew, maybe that’ll teach him to stay quiet!” But Tom didn’t learn. He still gobbled, louder and more vigorously. Feeling the situation was dire, Jake let out a sequence of alarm putts from his call. Now, some people might say Jake actually choked on his mouth call, but we know the truth. How else could a person make such flawless alarm putts but intentionally?!
Silence was the only sound for a few minutes until Tom fired up again. He still hadn’t learned. Jake was very concerned and needed to warn the gobbler again. Jake crawled back about 20 yards from his decoy and set up. Busted! Jake could see Tom looking right at him! It worked perfectly, there’s no way Tom would stay on these outskirts, surely he’d fly down and head toward the flock to patch things up with his former buddies. Jake’s eyes lit up as Tom jumped from the roost and flew directly at him! Luckily, Jake was carrying a 12 gauge shotgun and was ready for the worst case scenario. Tom seemingly had a death wish and Jake was just the guy to help him. Jake raised his gun and waited for the sights to be about 6 inches left of Tom’s head, only 10 yards away. KABOOM! Jake fired a warning shot and Tom trotted away…not very fast though. At this time Jake decided Tom wasn’t headed the right way so he fired another shot. Finally, Tom took to flight and flew out of sight towards the flock. With a smile on his face, Jake exited the woods knowing that had it been anyone else in the woods that morning, Tom very likely would not have survived.
Jake Is a trained counselor in the area of Turkey Greif. Often referred to as “hunters”, camo clad counselors like Jake will fill the woods of America from April-May in an effort to save as many birds as possible. When asked some helpful tips for saving turkeys Jake says “I like to live by the words of Celine Dion- Baby, just have a heart…” He added “Gosh I love that song. I just try to imagine what it’s like in the turkeys shoes… well… spurs, and do what I can to show him I care.”
A final call to action-
This time of year your Facebook feeds and forum timelines will be filled with images of sad hunters and the turkeys they were unable to save. An uninformed person might think these hunters are showing off “kills”. Obviously that is incorrect. Look at this picture and tell me, does he look happy? Of course not. This counselor wasn’t able to save his Tom Longspur.
Now that you’ve read Jake’s tale, I hope you’ve learned the importance of informing the public of PAD and how you can help. Grab some camo, a decoy, calls, and a shotgun (just in case) and head to the woods! Jake wanted us to share one last piece of advice before you go. He says, “Ya know, I never realized the importance of turkey vocalizations until I heard about PAD. I’ve developed a motto for all of my fellow counselors to live by- Never cluck when you can Putt. God Bless America”.


If you or someone you know is aware of turkeys suffering from PAD and don’t feel you can bear the burden, Contact Jake and he will come to your land to help.
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Apr 17, 2013
Its nice to know I'm not alone in the world! The same set of events unfolded for me last Wednesday. I only had to shoot in his general direction once, but I think he'll not be that reckless for the rest of the year.

In all seriousness, I absolutely love chasing gobblers in my home country (Black Hills of SD) and if anybody would like a local who could take them out and put them on birds let me know. Always glad to make new acquaintances.