Extreme Turkey Hunting!
So magnificent in color and beauty with vocalizations that stir the soul, the Gobbler will often take extreme woods knowhow, patience, calling savvy and sometimes luck to coax this Monarch of the Spring within your effective realm of influence! To pull the trigger often is anticlimactic! This moment of anticipation with the bird in your sights with your finger on the trigger to finalize the excitement of your hunt could be left for another day and another adventure as the thrill has already occurred! To go “one on one” in the turkeys’ home environment is a real challenge for a hunter who leaves the latest technology in hunting these birds at home preferring to voluntarily give your bird the advantage and respect they deserve!
Remaining motionless, using available ground cover or downed limbs to break up your outline and calling by mouth, if necessary, only is the ultimate test for the experienced hunter! Knowing when and where to station yourself based on terrain, strutting zones, loafing spots, dust and crop availability and possible travel corridors used when exiting the roost all must be considered after locating your roosted gobbler by using only your mouth vocalizations to mimic the barred owl or crow to elicit a response. The bird of today is wary to vocalize to the extreme as in years past as the predator, hunter and overall competition has honed his wariness to the extreme.
Hunting the wary bird utilizing a flank and wait moving technique is the ultimate in the experience of securing a turkey! You will lose the battle more often than not, but the experience will rival a Seal Team in planning (and back-up planning) organizing an attack! You will get muddy, frustrated and tired from the physical exhaustion, but the reward is unique in the Turkey Hunting world.
You can leave your home away from home tent in the truck! No need for a chair, tent, cushion, Wi-Fi and a pile of decoys. You must move quickly and be able to climb and operate with a minimum of “Cabela’s” gear designed to make you successful? This type of activity is not for the rookie, child or elderly as all senses must be operable and able!
Admittedly my vision and hearing are not that of a young man and although two-thirds of my Cancer Treatments have been accomplished – my heart is still functioning ok, and I welcome the challenge! But I must accept the frustration that failure may bring also!
A few years back, a lone gobbler would strut a far hillside shelf across the valley from my normal set up. Early season in open timber lent attack nearly impossible! After failing on every trick, I could muster, anger overrode good sense, and a stalk was planned.
A creek in the valley below the bird had steep embankments and many deadfalls but provided an approach if silent and slow enough to avoid detection. Hiking a far loop around to the start of the creek, the approach was initiated through the mud, water and deadfalls at every turn. Fortunately, the bird was very vocal confirming he was still present! Slowly traversing the wet creek bed in standing water was slow, silent and methodical. Successfully progressing to just below the bird above, a process of digging toe hold and hand holds in the sharp embankment began to facilitate my climb! This “Death Stalk” using the namesake of Larry Benoit, the greatest deer hunter of all time, could not be rushed.
Nearing the top, allowing my heartbeat to slow, the bird would boom only feet away! Positioning my gun to shoot immediately upon peering over the shelf was imperative as only quick reactions would provide success! Inching up only millimeters at a time, the digestive tract of the big gobbler could be heard at this close distance!
Suddenly, the eyeball of a turkey peering from a head with blood enriched waddles was present only feet away! The bird was stunned for a millisecond before beginning his escape. My gun followed and discharged but a small sapling took the brunt of the lead pattern on the fleeing bird now turning ninety degrees in running flight, the second shot aided by the bird now further away was true, putting an end to the drama!
Giving thanks for his sacrifice and for the memory making approach – my hunt was over!
This episode proved the need for flexibility, ingenuity and often craziness in tactics!
Just a few days ago before beginning my twelfth Infusion therapy for the treatment of Melanoma, in the examination room with Chief Oncologist and Founder of Cancer Care in Decatur IL, Dr Wade and his clinical trial facilitator, Debbie, I completed sixty push-ups in fifty-two seconds as I had promised to do before the treatments began back in mid-2022. Remarkably I was shown up by Dr. Wade who at his age did five Marine class push-ups in methodical fashion!
Pushing oneself to the beyond the normal in life’s challenges as in Turkey Hunting often yields results!