Turkey is one species I have wanted to hunt for quite some time. We have only had tags available for wild turkey in our area in the last few years and I have just never had the opportunity due to work or other factors. I have always been open to trying new things especially in the hunting arena and last year I was drawn for a tag. I was immediately pumped. I had heard how fun it was to hunt these birds and how much harder than deer hunting it was. I looked forward to the challenge.
In late March I was informed I needed a hysterectomy. Doc asked me, if I had any questions concerning the surgery? My only question to the Doctor was, will I be able to go turkey hunting? His chuckling response in turn was, you should be fine, just have someone else carry the bird!
My husband and I hunted the first few days of my season together with no luck. He had drawn and been successful in an earlier season and was along to call for me (and carry the bird).
Mid season, he had to leave on business so I recruited a friend of mine Candy Grubisic, as her husband and hunting partner had also had to leave for the remainder of the season. She was an experienced turkey hunter and knew what she was doing.
Candy picked me up the bright and early the first morning. We headed off to the woods, like a couple of school girls on the first morning of 2nd grade. She and I always have a good time no matter what we do, but this was our first time hunting together. We knew we needed to get the excited chatting out of our system in order to stay quiet and still, at least long enough to outsmart those cagey turkeys.
The morning was brisk and still. You could see our breath, as we hurried to get set up, in a big pine plantation. We placed our blind according to the direction where we thought the turkeys would come from. We located our sitting spots and cleaned away the debris from the base of the trees. We strategically set out our decoys and nestled into our chosen seats. The aroma of moist dirt and decomposing pine needles filled our nostrils. That earthy wonderful smell of spring is my favorite.
It was amazing to be in the woods as the sun started peeking over the horizon. To hear all of the woods and its creatures awake and come alive. Morning in the woods is simply fantastic.
Candy had been turkey hunting several times before so as the veteran huntress, she set about calling for me. Almost immediately we had a tom start talking back, or so Candy said. I on the other hand could not hear him. Previously in the week, while hunting with my husband, he had also told me the same thing, the turkeys were talking. I apparently could not hear them at this distance and I thought he was pulling my leg. I now know he was telling me the truth and I just need hearing enhancement. (That’s a whole other story).
Candy continued to yelp and purr on that box call and suddenly, I heard him return the call. He was out in front of us to the left but we couldn’t see him. (We realize now that there was a small hill that he was just over.) He continued to move across in front of us and talk and talk and gobble and gobble. At one point I could hear the fa zzzzzzzzzz of his feathers as he strutted. Candy had told me about that and when I heard it I knew immediately what she was talking about. We knew he had to be close. He continued talking as he kept moving.
My heart was starting to beat faster and faster, louder and louder. My breathing quickened, as I anticipated him moving in on our hens and jake. I searched the landscape trying to get a glimpse of his beautiful strutting body. My eyes straining and scouring, knowing he had to be right there. Nothing, no turkey, no feather, no spurs, no beard, no fan, nothing. He seemed to be moving further and further away. Pretty soon I couldn’t hear him anymore. And then Candy could no longer hear him.
Darn the luck. Just then, another turkey started talking to our right and slightly behind us. The type of blind we had resembles a small fence and didn’t surround us. We were also lined up one behind the other in proximity to the gobbles. We looked at each other, trying to decide whether to reposition ourselves and our set up or just try to adjust and deal with it.
Do we move? What to you think? I don’t know what do you think? The gobbles are far enough away (according to Candy) that we should be able to reset. We decide to go for it. Candy whispers…go!
I am glad we didn’t have a camera person there on that day, because it must have been absolutely hilarious the way we sprang up and scrambled. Some kind of cross between a couple of ants scurrying to get their stuff, a Chinese fire drill and musical chairs is my best recollection. In those brief moments we rearranged everything, including the blind, the decoys and our seats. Hunched over and doing 60mph.
As we sat down totally convinced that we were extremely sneaky sniper huntresses, a turkey gobbled right next to us. We had been concentrating so hard on what we were doing that it nearly gave us both a heart attack! We were busted. He took off flying and we burst out laughing.
We continued to hunt that day and have a great time over the next few days. We never got within any distance of any turkeys the rest of the season. We did however have a terrific time. I guess that’s why it’s called hunting.