As the alarm went off at 5 a.m. on April 16, I rolled over and rubbed the sleep from my eyes. After have hunting for four days straight the waking up early began to take its toll on me. I dragged myself out of bed anyway and went down stairs to see if my mom and sister wanted to go with me. Little did I know this morning would be as crazy as it was?
After talking with my mom and sister, we decided my sister was too sick to go hunting and they stayed behind. So I went ahead got dressed, grabbed the ole’ Mossberg 835, and headed out the door; but I immediately went right back inside to get my jacket since there was a nice magical chill in that early Thursday morning air.
I got to the spot were I was going to hunt around 6 a.m. and settled in. I had not heard any gobbling all week and I did not plan on this morning being any different. Therefore, I got my video camera out and turned it on along with my calls I planed on using. Then once more that week I lay up against the tree to wake up with the woods.
At about 6:10 a.m. I heard a gobble, my first one all week. I right away began to call back, only to get no response. A couple more minutes later another gobble, but this time when I called back, I got an answer. I tried again and was immediately cut off. After about five minutes of calling and gobbling this gobbler was hot. He at one time gobbled seven times in a row without any calling on my part.
When 6:20 a.m. rolled around his gobbling stopped and I got to wondering if he was now on the ground. Just after that, thought past he gobbled again. I called back and could tell he was working my way. I looked to my camera and said, “This might just work lets pray he keeps coming.” I turned, got my gun up, and began calling softly every few minutes.
After a long pause of my calling, he gobbled and was right at the bottom of the hill I was sitting on. So I called back and he gobbled and at this point I was beginning to shake like a leaf in a hurricane. A few seconds later, I called again and was cut off by his gobble, but this time he was half way up the hill. Pressing my gun firmly to my face I was waiting to see his head pop up right in my lap. One more call I thought that should do him in. That one little soft call changed my whole thought process, because when he gobbled I swiftly cut my eyes to see this majestic bird 15 yards away in full strut. Like being hit by a truck, my heart stopped, because my gun was facing the wrong way. Quickly I made up my mind to move my gun and pray he does not run. Little did I know that one move would bring him out of strut for a perfect shot? At the crack of my gun, he hit the ground like a bag of bricks.
Stumbling to get to my feet, I ran down the fence line gun in one hand camera in the other. That earlier bit shaking was now a full on miniature earthquake. For some reason I was talking into my camera as if it was my best friend while trying to locate the down bird; in all my excitement I had walked right past him. After a few shots for the camera and very grateful thanks to God for the bird, I began calling anyone who would listen.
This bird was very special to me in that it was the first bird I had ever worked by myself. In addition, it was the first gobbler of the ’09 season in my family. As I wait to see what the rest of the season has in store for me, I still see that gobbler in full strut on that crisp, magical, early Thursday morning.