Sen. Portman Takes a Tom

Sen. Portman Takes a Tom

Makes all the right moves in gaining Ohio carcass

GUERNSEY COUNTY, Ohio. -- The weather was far from ideal for wild turkey hunting: windy, the temperature hovering around 40 degrees.  A low, gray sky threatened rain.  Would turkeys even gobble on such a day as this?  Undaunted, U. S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) stepped into the woods on opening day of the Ohio turkey hunting season, Monday, April 23, well before dawn. 

Clad in camouflage from head to toe and toting a black 12-gauge, the Senator was guided by Roby Williams, a veteran state wildlife officer and turkey hunter.  The location was privately-owned land in Guernsey County, beautiful, rolling hill country in the southeast portion of the Buckeye State.

After a hike up a steep hill, Portman and Williams stood in the dark on a ridge catching their breath, listening and hoping.  As the black of night turned slowly to the gray of early morning, songbirds began to call, the first being a whippoorwill.  Next, other species joined in one at a time.  Combined with the wind, the building crescendo of birdsong made it even tougher to hear a turkey gobble.

But Portman needn’t have worried. Officer Williams had done his scouting homework well, and when the first wild turkey of the morning gobbled it was roosted less than 100 yards away.  The two hunters grinned at each other, then dived for cover.  Sitting down against two trees, they pulled their facemasks on and waited.


Soon, two other toms were also gobbling, and Williams began answering with hen yelps from his mouth diaphragm caller.  The birds loved it, and flew down.  Gathering together, the trio of gobblers set out to find that tempting “hen” on the ridge.


The turkeys continued to gobble as they approached, conveniently signaling the hunters as to their progress.  Eventually, the birds were so close Portman and Williams could hear them strumming or drumming, a sound normally only heard when a turkey is within shotgun range, 40 yards or less. Knowing the birds were close, Portman slowly and deliberately shifted his 12-gauge from his lap up onto his bended left knee.


Within seconds a long-bearded wild turkey gobbler walked into Portman’s view — not 20 feet away! Unfortunately, the bird’s head was behind an obstruction, and Portman wisely chose not to shoot. Seeing no hen, the turkey turned and went back down the hill, joined his two buddies, and walked back out of range.

But Williams, being the experienced turkey hunter he is, had played this cat-and-mouse game before.  He whispered to Portman that they needed to move, and the two hunters slipped quietly farther down the ridge and repositioned.  Once again, Williams sent several soft yelps through the woods, telling the toms where their elusive hen had moved to.  The three turkeys gobbled their response, and within minutes were again closing the gap. 

Senator Portman drew a bead on the first tom to walk within range, slipped off his gun’s safety, and squeezed the trigger.  The shotgun roared and the bird went down in a heap, a two-year-old tom weighing around 20 pounds and sporting a beard just over nine inches in length.


“I’ve hunted nearly all my life,” said Portman, later that morning. “Growing up in the Cincinnati area, my father started me out on small game such as rabbits, pheasants, and squirrels. He and I particularly enjoyed quail hunting together.”

Unfortunately, a blizzard and severe, prolonged cold weather during the winter of 1978 wiped out most of the bobwhite quail population in Ohio.  But it’s about that time white-tailed deer and wild turkeys were coming on in the state, so Portman set his sights on those game animals. In addition to the gobbler he took on opening day this year, Senator Portman has previously killed several other wild turkeys in Ohio.

Both a hunter and angler, U. S. Senator Rob Portman is a friend of America’s sportsmen. He’s also on the short list to possibly become Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential running mate should Romney secure the Republican nominee for president.  As a guy who enjoys the outdoors as much as we do, Rob Portman is one of us. And he’ll fight for sportsmen’s rights to continue to hunt and fish. Regardless of your political leanings — Republican, Democrat, or Independent.


Recommended for You

The Pennsylvania man's trophy fish was more than two pounds heavier than the previous record. Records

No Kidding: Angler Smashes Record for Lake Trout

Scott Bernarde - May 21, 2019

The Pennsylvania man's trophy fish was more than two pounds heavier than the previous record.

Shooters across the U.S. are using this competition shooting mat. Guns

MidwayUSA Pro Series Shooting Mat

G&F Staff

Shooters across the U.S. are using this competition shooting mat.

If you've been catching catfish with the same method for years, it's time to change it up and learn a new baiting technique. Fishing How-To

Your Guide for the Best Catfish Baits

G&F Staff

If you've been catching catfish with the same method for years, it's time to change it up and...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Mustad

Mustad's Inkvader Octopus Live Jig

From big fish to small, just about any saltwater game fish out there will love the new Mustad Inkvader Octopus Live Jig that Mustad's Russ Whisler shows to OSG's Lynn Burkhead.

Berkley

Berkley's Surge Shad

Major League Fishing pro Scott Suggs has relied on the Berkley Surge Shad lure concept for years, using similar designs to capture MLF titles and a $1 million dollar FLW Forrest Cup win. With new features in the Surge Shad, Suggs tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead that even he can find success out on the water!

MLF Pro Tips: How to Fish a New Lake

MLF Pro Tips: How to Fish a New Lake

Major League Fishing pros Alton Jones, Jeff Sprague, Anthony Gagliardi and James Watson share their thoughts on how to approach fishing a new lake for bass.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Experts agree record channel cat caught in 1949 was actually a blue catfish. Records

Upon Further Review: 70-Year-Old Catfish Record Voided

G&F Online Staff - May 22, 2019

Experts agree record channel cat caught in 1949 was actually a blue catfish.

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews of smelly ingredients often used to catch catfish. Catfish

How To Make Your Own Catfish Dough Bait

Keith Sutton - August 04, 2015

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews...

Unlike many game fish, catfish can be harder to catch during the spawn. Here are some strategies. Catfish

Understanding Catfish Spawning

Keith Sutton - June 06, 2006

Unlike many game fish, catfish can be harder to catch during the spawn. Here are some...

See More Stories

More Stories

Here's a look at some of coyote hunting rifles and shot gun featured in this summer's Game & Fish 2018 Gear Guide magazine. Stories

Gear Reviews: New Coyote Hunting Rifles, Shotguns

Game & Fish Online Staff - September 07, 2018

Here's a look at some of coyote hunting rifles and shot gun featured in this summer's Game &...

We Coyote hunters spend a lot of time ringing the dog's dinner bell when we call. But we are Stories

Call Our Complex Coyotes

Brad Fitzpatrick - July 13, 2017

We Coyote hunters spend a lot of time ringing the dog's dinner bell when we call. But we are

Once considered a denizen of the Western wilds, the coyote has learned to adapt to human Stories

Coyotes In Suburbia

Stephen D. Carpenteri - November 30, 2016

Once considered a denizen of the Western wilds, the coyote has learned to adapt to human

See More Stories

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×