April 28, 2013

Spring Turkey Season 2013

Spring turkey 2013 has come and gone. 

For the past four years, I've hunted with my buddies from my wife's family out in the area near their hunting cabin (an old schoolhouse) in the exact center of the state.  These are always fun trips, and it's great to hang out with friends, but in my time since joining only one guy has taken a bird. 

I don't know why we are jinxed.  I hear gobbles o' plenty on many of the hunting days, it just seems as though the turkeys aren't interested in buying what I'm selling.  Until this year.

Boys and girls:  I present to you the 2013 Spring Turkey Top Gun.
Top Gun

Right before he came up, I was sitting there thinking of how many bad days I had while ice fishing this past winter, and how I've yet to shoot a turkey.  "Idiot, if it weren't for the grocery store you'd starve to death."
I got into the woods at about 5:00, and it was a bit lighter than I wanted.  by the time I was on the trail to my intended hunting grounds (which had a sandbar in the river bottom that was COVERED with turkey tracks), it was already light enough that a flashlight wasn't needed to walk. I had a long way to go, and hoped to cover enough ground and get set up before the birds left their roost.  It quickly became apparent I wasn't going to make it, but along the way it turned out to not matter.
I was about halfway along the hike when I first heard a hen call across the river, followed by a gobble.  I figured since I was already late for the prime area, I'd set up here for a spell and try to call the gobbler across the river.  I set out the decoys and cleared a spot at the base of an oak, then sat down and called. 

Silence.

I feared my call was bad and that I just gave myself away.  For all I knew, every animal in the woods had just made a u-turn away, and I was faced with another fruitless and boring day.

After a while, I got a couple responses from both hen and gobbler... but I didn't perceive any movement in the location.  They just weren't interested, and so despite the urge to call like crazy I tried to keep the sounding infrequent and fairly quiet. 

At this point I'm fairly certain the entire thing was pointless and if it wasn't for the grocery store I'd starve.  After about 50 minutes, I heard a gobble from behind me, in the direction toward which I was heading.  I called back, to which he replied with another gobble.

He was still far enough away that I was able to change my position at the base of the tree to give me a better shot toward the logging road he was following to approach.  I rested my gun against the tree in firing position and waited.  Shaking like a leaf.

He approached and fanned, clucking.  Then at a distance of 30 yards he froze.  He saw the decoys and must have thought something was amiss.  then as I watched he turned around and started walking away back toward where he came.  I figured, "Fuck it, let's do this" and stood up to clear the brush blocking my shot.  He saw me stand and took off like a rocket.

BOOM!

The blast rolled him.  I was pumped and congratulating myself, but then he got back up and ran down the trail full bore.  I sprinted after him and saw him approach a corner, then headed off the cleared logging road straight for the woods.  I drew and shot again.

BOOM!

This one did it.  Awesome.

I was the only guy in camp to hit paydirt this year (except for Uncle Jimmy who hit a hen with his car). You'd better believe I rubbed it in, and the photo above will make a brilliant tee-shirt with the words "Top Gun 2013" on the front and back.  I'm completely pumped, and cannot wait for next year.

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