• Stories
  • Double Trouble: A Wild Turkey Hunting Tale of Rust & Redemption

Double Trouble: A Wild Turkey Hunting Tale of Rust & Redemption

Double Trouble: A Wild Turkey Hunting Tale of Rust & Redemption
July 12, 2023

By T. Logan Metesh

This is it. The moment of truth. One day shy of a month’s worth of turkey hunting is about to pay off.

Me and my hunting buddies, Ed and Katherine, have been scouting and hunting a lot. We knew exactly where the birds would be.

Ed and I were set up in a ground blind, ready to go. Sure enough, here he comes.

Wait, there’s two! We’re going to get a double! Wait, there’s three! Take your pick!

Ed got his turkey gun up and ready. I grabbed mine and instinctively went to flip the safety off, except something was wrong. It wouldn’t budge.

Stuck in the safe position. It would have been easier to pull the Excalibur from the stone or lift Thor’s hammer than get my Mossberg 500 from safe to fire.

*Record scratch. Freeze frame.* Yep, that’s me. You’re probably wondering how I ended up in this situation.

My gun got soaked in a storm the day before while Katherine and I were posted up on some trees for the morning’s hunt. After heading home and wringing out my thoroughly soaked skin, it was time to turn my attention to my gun. I took it completely apart, wiped everything down, oiled it up, and put it back together. I made sure to check that everything functioned perfectly and was ready for the next hunt.

That next hunt was when Ed and I were sitting in the blind the following morning where I had to watch helplessly as I missed my chance due to a malfunction and Ed put a bead on a big ol’ bird.

In less than 60 seconds, I went from joyous excitement at the sight of those toms to sheer panic and anger as my gun malfunctioned to acceptance and joy once again when we piled out of the blind and went up to Ed’s bird: a great tom with a 10” beard.

After we parted ways, I went into the house and immediately set upon finding out what went wrong. I took that Mossberg apart and discovered that the problem was the one thing that I didn't take apart the day before: the safety switch.

When you take the switch off, you’ll see that there's a small spring and a detent ball in there. The spring holds tension on the ball to lock the switch in either the safe or fire position, depending on which safety switch cavity the ball is in.

While everything was good the night before when everything else was freshly cleaned, wiped down, and oiled, the brief overnight hours were just enough time for a thin film of rust to form between the spring and detent ball, joining them together in unholy matrimony. That thin film - and I do mean thin: it was like nutmeg dusted on top of hot chocolate thin - was just enough friction to prevent the spring and ball from gliding as they should and disengaging the safety.

There are a few morals to this turkey hunting story:

  1. 1. If you're going to take the whole gun apart, then actually take the whole gun apart. Each. And. Every. Single. Part. Don’t skip the safety because it’s small and not a part of the normal stripping and turkey gun cleaning procedure.
  2. 2. Perform a basic function check before you leave the house. If I had known this issue existed before I left home, I'd have grabbed a different gun and dealt with this one later.
  3. 3. Don’t stop until you see ‘em flop.


As bummed as I was about missing my chance at a double, both Katherine and I still had tags to punch and, since our limit here was two birds this season, Ed still had another he could take, too. Over the next week, the three of us kept at it. Sometimes solo; sometimes doubled up.

Didn’t matter, those birds were going down. It was personal now.

On a beautiful Sunday morning, Katherine and I met up to head for a field where we knew the birds were going to be. There were two blinds set up in different, noncompeting spots and Katherine asked if we should sit separately to increase our odds.

“Nope.” I said. “Can’t get a double sitting apart. Today’s our day. I can feel it. Double trouble.”

With the location settled, we hunkered down in the blind. There was, however, one more thing to settle. If only one tom came in, who got the first shot? Clearly, there’s only one way to settle this: rock, paper, scissors, best two out of three.

I’ll save you the details, but suffice it to say I’m never playing that game with her again. She always wins. Every. Single. Time.

Katherine has really honed her turkey calling skills this season, so she took the lead. It didn’t take long before she had ‘em hammering.

Hens and a tom came in to our right, with one bossy hen yelling like hell each time Katherine called. It was awesome to watch and listen. Unfortunately, the tom didn’t come within range and then hens eventually led him into the woods at the edge of the field.

A short while later, Katherine tapped me and whispered that she saw a head bobbing along, just over a rise to our left. Binos up, I searched and searched but didn’t see it. It wouldn’t be the first time one of us saw something out of nothing in our desire to get a turkey.

Then, all of a sudden, there he was! The tom’s head popped up again, this time closer to us.

Katherine grabbed her slate and started calling him in. She was so focused on the tom and her calling that I had to tell her to put down the slate call and striker and grab her gun. This tom’s time was almost up.

Then, like absolute magic, another tom appeared right behind the first one. I couldn’t believe it. Was this really happening? Was I really going to get a chance at another double in the span of one week?

I grabbed my gun and quietly, giddy as all hell, whispered, “We’re gonna get a double! You take the one on the right and I’ll take the one on the left.”

Targets acquired, we waited for them to come in range, tracking them as they went along. Then, they switched places with my left bird becoming the right bird. I rattled off a quick but quiet verbal confirmation that we were now swapping target birds to avoid overlapping shots. Katherine confirmed.

All of a sudden, the birds quickened their pace and started making their way to the same treeline where we lost sight of the earlier tom. It was now or never, as they were getting a little farther away each second.

“I’m gonna count to three and we’re gonna fire. Are you ready?” I asked.

Without waiting for Katherine’s reply, I started counting.


We looked like two of the Three Stooges as we scrambled to get out of the blind and make our way to the birds.

After ensuring the harvest was successful and calling for my wife to pick up Ed and meet us in the field, I grabbed my rangefinder and measured it out. Two toms down at 54 yards, mine with a 20 gauge and Katherine’s with a 12 gauge.

Plenty of whooping, hollering, and photos were taken before heading home to measure and clean the birds. Katherine’s tom had 1” spurs and a 9.75” beard. Mine had ¾” spurs and a 10” beard.

After a total of 57 hours in the woods over the course of five weeks, I was elated to close the deal with just one week left in the season. That it was a double with a friend was the icing on the cake.

After the birds had been sealed and put in the freezer, I smiled and gave Katherine another high-five.

I had been given a chance at redemption from the rust.

“Double trouble,” I beamed.

We use cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies, Privacy Policy, and Terms of Use.