"Turkeys!" Bill said, pointing.
Dick handed a pair of binoculars back through the window, and I stood to look. About 150 yards away, four huge birds were walking in and out of patches of brush and mesquite.
"It's a boss gobbler and three apprentice gobblers," Bill said. "See those pecan trees down there along the river? That's likely where they'll roost tonight. You can see why you have to get them in the head. The feathers are so thick they blunt the impact. If you only wound one, he'll be gone quick as a shot. And you have to get them in to 40 yards."
We spent most of the afternoon scouting out possible roosting areas by analyzing the freshness of turkey droppings. Though we found plenty of sign, none appeared to have been produced within 24 hours. We did spot five more birds grazing along through the brush. Everyone agreed that there were a lot of turkeys in the area this year and that hunting conditions were ideal. When we finished scouting we drove back to Donny's ranch and made plans for the morning.
"All together there'll be eight of us hunting," Donny said, "and I predict we'll get four birds. At least four."
"I'll take Baughman with me," Dick said, "I'll call in that first big gobbler we saw. What about you, Bill?"
"If it's O.K., I want that hillside by the water tower."
"Plenty of room for everybody," Tip said. "Plenty of birds."
Later, eight men and three wives sat down to a dinner of steaks broiled over mesquite and weighing about two pounds each. Soon beer gave way to whiskey, and the talk grew quite rough, but the women held their own—easily.
The beer was strong enough for me, and I drank it slowly. I'm not a great shot, and I didn't want to get up at 4 a.m. with a headache. I figured I would be lucky to get a single shot at a turkey, and I certainly didn't want to mess it up.