An early morning spring ritual
by Mo Hodge
Published on May 22, 2023
Categories: Inspiration

An early morning spring ritual

by Mo Hodge

April 26, 2023 was the opening day of turkey season in Indiana.

I got up at 3 am in order to meet Jared at 4 am. What would get me up so early? A turkey hunt with my son.

We headed to a farm in southern Indiana . . . a 90-minute drive. After the drive came the long walk to a pasture surrounded by trees where the turkeys typically roost. The plan was to get into the woods as quietly as possible and be in place 30 minutes before sunrise.

As the sun came up we listened for the gobble. Male turkeys like to gobble a little, or in this case a lot, before they fly down from their roost. They will even call back to you if you create the sound of a hen. If you call to them and you don’t hear a gobble, you’re in the wrong place. Jared called and he gobbled . . . maybe 150 yards or so away. The hunt was on!

Typically, when a tom gobbles, the hen goes toward him. So trying to get the tom to come to the hunter is a challenge. What will bring him in is a good caller . . . Jared was using a mouth call . . . and some decoys that look like turkeys which you place 15-20 yards in front of you.

Well, the tom flew off his roost and slowly began coming toward us (we couldn’t see him but the gobbles were getting closer). He finally entered the pasture where we could see him. He was a beauty . . . long beard and huge fan. The plan was coming together and we’d be finished early enough for biscuits and gravy at the local restaurant in Osgood. But then, when he was 100 yards or so away, out of the range of a shotgun, he stopped coming towards us. Something had caught his attention. He continued to respond to our call but he was distracted by something over the hill. And then she appeared. A hen followed him into the pasture.

For the next hour or so, we watched him court this hen. He would open his fan and strut back and forth. She didn’t seem too impressed. But that didn’t stop him. Eventually she disappeared into the woods with him in pursuit. Jared’s calls and our decoys were not enough. We were disappointed. But the hunt offered more than bagging a turkey.

Sitting quietly in the dark. Watching as the sun illuminates the beauty of God’s creation. Spending time with someone I love. Watching a tom turkey court a hen in the wild. Lunch in Osgood and Jared picked up the tab!

All were priceless benefits of a spring turkey hunt.

As founding Pastor of The Bridge Community Church and Executive Director of Mo Hodge Ministries, Mo resources Pastors and Leaders in the area of leadership development. He enables Pastors and leaders in the following areas: Developing Teams, Church Growth, Church Planting, Discipleship Multiplication, Nonprofit Organizational Management, Multi-site Church Development, Public Speaking, Capital Campaigns, and Sr. Pastor Succession. … Mo and his wife, Nancy, live in Anderson, IN with their children and grandchildren. Though retired, Mo is still active in ministry, preaching, teaching, and planting new churches wherever the Lord leads. You can follow him on LinkedIn or through his Newsletter.

Feature Photo by Wallpaper Safari


  1. Thomas R Maratea

    Very enjoyable and peaceful – what a marvelous experience in God’s creation!

    • Andy Oldham

      Hey Tom! So thankful you enjoyed this. God is so good, in so many ways! God Bless!


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