Monday, May 4, 2009

Tortuous Turkey Tales

Many years ago, while still living in So. Cal. I decided that I wanted to start turkey hunting. I bought books. I went to a seminar put on by a 'professional' turkey hunter. I bought four different turkey loads and two different choke tubes. I scouted for three weeks before hand. I made my wife consider divorce with my constant practice of the turkeys language. I was determined to master it. I clucked and purred like a slutty hen, desperate to attract the biggest, strongest male around. To this day I am not allowed to use a turkey call within 1/4 mile of the house.

Opening day found me rising long before the sun. I loaded my gear into the truck, the dog paced with an excitement only a bird dog knows. My whispered apology was not enough to calm him. He watched me drive away, the disappointment apparent in his stance. I drove for an hour in the darkness. I prepared myself for the hunt, scenarios raced thru my head with all the possible outcomes.

The morning dew had just fallen as I eased out of my truck. I had about a half mile walk to the special meadow I had picked out the week before. It was not large, about 5 acres, surrounded by scrub oaks and filled with fresh spring grass, about six inches tall. A small creek gurgled on the south side, a natural barrier for a hormone charged gobbler. I stopped about 200 yards from my spot, I lifted a crow call to my lips. "kaw, kaw!" rang out loudly. I heard a gobble in the distance. The odds were good today. Perhaps I would be blessed with fresh turkey for dinner.

I eased into position as the sky began to turn pink with the first hint of daylight. I pulled some brush around my position, confident that my camo was complete. I had a stream at my back and an empty meadow before me, I could do no more to perfect my position.

I waited an hour before I started calling. Softly at first, lets face it, who wants the easy stuff? I slowly increased the tempo as the morning wore on. Suddenly I had a response. A gobble in the distance. I stopped calling for what seemed like an eternity, I grabbed my slate and let out one short 'cluck', another gobble, closert this time. I put down my slate and grabbed my mouth call. My shotgun had layed in my lap all morning, a unneeded piece of gear in my tool box. I shifted it closer to my shoulder, the less movement needed the better.

I heard a splash behind me from the stream. My first thought was coyote. I slowly twisted around to look. What greeted me? A fisherman. Fly fisherman to be exact. Splish Splashing his way up the stream with fly rod in hand. Has anybody explained to him that you catch more fish being quiet? Needless to say, that turkey was not heard from again. My only satisfaction being the look on this gentle mans face when I stood up, not five yards from him. I wish that I could say that he fell down in fright, however, he did jump a little bit.

Remember, it's not the meat that you put on the table. It is the soul that is fed by time outdoors. Regardless of my lack of fresh wild turkey, I have always enjoyed the time in pursuit of them. Perhaps it is a fools quest, but one day I may be blessed with fresh turkey for my table.

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