Few things are more exciting than opening day of Turkey Season. It’s like a breath of spring air for those of us who hunt. I remember my first turkey season like it was yesterday. I was 11 and in my mind, these Thanksgiving, over-stuffed birds would wander by my blind and I would pick one off with ease. Turkeys have a false reputation. Toms are fast and they are smart. I’m pretty sure the first one spotted me a mile away and just came by for fun.
This was also my first taste of underestimating my opponent and became, what I see now, as an incredible first step in negotiation and setting up a deal. I started thinking about what that Tom wants, what he needs and how to lure him in. I wanted to stir no suspicion, maintain a low profile and take down that target.
So I watched those birds and found the perfect place to set my blind. Then came decoys to draw them in. And I sat and waited and listened to them talk, so I started calling back. The next thing you know, the big Toms come strutting out of the woods, deliberately heading to the decoys. I was patient and chose my moment carefully. But I knew before I ever drew my bow that it was the preparation that closed the deal, not the arrow.
Here are few tips to prepare for your hunt, no matter the target:
1) Do your research. Knowledge is power. And power is leverage. I promise, it always comes down to the details. Know the territory and do what you can to anticipate your opponent’s needs and wants.
2) Put the game into play. I set my blind and decoys in a spot that was close enough to lure them to me. Because from step 1, I knew I wasn’t going to be chasing down a wild turkey.
3) Choose your moment (or let it pass). This might be the hardest thing to do because it is human nature to anticipate. But in a turkey hunt, if you choose the wrong moment, all the birds fly. So wait for the right moment. Trust your instincts, your gut will tell you when its time.
I spent a lot of time writing in a turkey blind over the past few years. The first draft of The Hunt was composed in tree stands and blinds and fields and farms all over the United States. I never knew how closely my hunting skills paralleled my business skills until it came out in my writing. I can truly say I’ve learned as much from the animals I have pursued as the businesses I have built. And I’ve got to thank the turkeys for this particular lesson, it has served me well.