It had taken me a half-hour and many perilous predawn footsteps on the steep bluffs above Nebraska’s Niobrara River to get to this spot. But it was a small price to pay for the dandy Merriam’s turkey gobbler sleeping high above in a ponderosa pine. I knew he was there because I had watched him settle in the night before. I planted my best-looking hen decoy a measured 30 yards from where I would be resting against another ponderosa. It was still plenty dark when I offered a hen’s “yelp” on my box call. I was answered immediately with a thunderous gobble. Trembling now, I anticipated the bird-in-hand action about to follow. But as I loaded my Browning 12 gauge my fingers slipped and the gun’s action slammed shut with a metallic clank. I hoped the noise wasn’t a deal-breaker. But in my heart I knew I had broken a cardinal rule of the outdoors: Silence is golden. This was confirmed a few minutes later when the gobbler flew down and headed in the opposite direction. If you will remember a handful of suggestions, you can greatly improve your chances for success on your outdoor adventures. Whether you are pursuing meat for the game feast pot, trying to add to your bird-watching life li...