Most of you know me or know of me as a fisherman, but what you don’t know is that my passion goes into the woods as well! As we roll into the spring I thought I would write just a little bit of my other spring passion, besides chasing all kinds of species of fish there is turkey hunting! This is one of my favorite things to do and sometimes the fish just have to wait!
There is nothing better than getting up at 4 am and making that pot of coffee in anticipation of hitting the trail in chase of a big ‘ol longbeard! The smell of the woods on a fresh spring morning filling your nose and the dogwood trees blooming! When you get there just before daylight in your favorite hunting area in search of a thunder chicken, letting out the long deep howl of that hoot owl and hearing that longbeard strike out from the top of a tall tree!
As your heart starts pumping and you make your way down the ridge to within 50 to 75 yards of where you last heard him, being decked out in camo with a diaphragm in your cheek! You think you are where you need to be thinking to yourself…do I have anything shiny showing? Do I have anything bright that he could see, covering all but your eyeballs! You let out a couple of quiet yelps to locate him again and he answers…just about 75 yards away! The sounds of the spring birds, songbirds chirping just lets you know you’re alive!
Now you are where you need to be, setup against a big white oak tree anticipating the sound of him answering your call as you cautiously unwrap your box call and slate making sure not to get them in the dew, as to not mess up the sound! You let out a soft purr and a cluck as the woods really trying to liven up and he answers…ohhh boy, the hair just stands up on the back of your neck and you give him a couple of soft yelps in the cool morning air! Man oh man; he just flew down, you could hear his wings flapping coming out of the tree to see if he had himself an early morning date! You give him a couple more beautiful yelps as he cuts you off…ohhh boy this is going to be good!
Now getting excited and waiting you give him a few seductive calls and purrs that any tom turkey would be happy to come check out, as you see his head peeking over the ridge and you have a 3 ½ inch magnum waiting on him! Ohhh boy here he comes, 60 55, 50 40 30….oh man it is about to happen!! You find his head and cover it with the bead start applying pressure on the trigger! Just a few more steps and its turkey dinner! He steps out from the cedar as you purr to pull him out of strut, the sound of him drumming is more than you can stand…you find his head again and ease down on the trigger and SNAP…you were so excited and got in too big of a hurry and forgot to putt a shell in the chamber!! OH NO!! As soon as he hears your foolish misfire he bolts never to be seen again!!
You know this is what keeps us coming back to the woods and as hunters we don’t always get our game, and the thrill is just as much fun as the kill!! I will be writing more about turkeys, with tips and techniques that might just put a longbeard on your dinner table. So keep an eye out for more from me and some of the successes and mishaps in the turkey woods! I hope you enjoyed and remember if you don’t take your kids to the outdoors someone might take them to the streets!