Two Tennessee lovebirds teamed up to call a noisy turkey on their wedding day while one of the guests dropped it with a 15-yard shot. Lauren and Cody Droke were trying to smile for photographs an hour before their May 14 wedding near Henderson, Tenn., when a faint gobble caught their attention.
“I heard a hoot owl call, and, of course, being a turkey hunter, I immediately had my ears tuned to see if anything followed,” Cody told Field and Stream. “Sure enough, I thought I heard a faint gobble.”
Turns out, Cody hadn’t filled his hunting tag yet, and turkey season had one day left.
“I was like, Wow, I must be hearing things. But the owl hooted again, and I could hear the gobble a little clearer this time,” he said. “I asked Lauren, ‘Do you hear that turkey?’”
Lauren said she’s not a big hunter, herself, but had accompanied both her father and soon-to-be husband on a few hunts over the years. But that didn’t mean she wasn’t game for a little wedding day adventure.
Cody said they would’ve moved on to other parts of the festivities, but the turkey kept gobbling
As they continued posing for photos, Cody said he kept listening. “It was 4:00 p.m. and that turkey was fired up. He was looking for something. My brother, Justin, and the rest of my crew got there, and I was telling him, ‘Dude, there’s a turkey hammering over there.’ And he’s like, ‘You’re lying. I highly doubt it.’”
Cody joked that the only reason he even planned his wedding during turkey season is because he figured he’d be tagged out by that point. But instead, he found himself legally able to report the bird, but in a wedding suit with his bride by his side. So he did what any hunter groom would do — he sent his best man and brother to scout out the situation on his behalf.
“At this point, we were thinking, ‘Hmmm, all right. We’ll give it a little call and see what happens,’” Cody said. He also said that his brother Justin had won a few calling competitions and called to the bird using just his mouth.
Lauren said of her Tennessee wedding: “I’ll always remember that turkey”
“There’s seven of us guys standing in the middle of this field, in suits, taking turns calling,” Cody laughed. “And I’m like, ‘This is ridiculous. This is never gonna work.’ But at some point, we could tell he was getting closer. And of course, the girls were yelling at us to come to take pictures. It was almost wedding time, and we were like, ‘Who’s got a gun in their truck?”
The wedding party then asked for permission to take the bird, which the proprietor granted. Justin set up in a tree line about 100 yards out, and fifteen minutes later, the entire wedding party heard the shot. A few minutes later, the happy couple and the entire wedding party was posing with the prize of the day.
“It was such a big part of the day because everyone cheered when the shot went off, and they got the turkey,” Lauren said. “The whole wedding party was yelling, and it was so much fun. I know when I think back on my wedding day, when I’m old and I can’t remember anything, I’ll still remember that turkey.”