Extreme Turkey Hunting Again!
The walk towards my hunting destination was illuminated by the moon rays creating a shadow going before in my path. Light was creeping from the east with very little wind. Dry walking conditions with little wind would make my movements catastrophic in approach to a wary gobbler. The backpack carried three turkey decoys for a field set-up but before completion – two distinct gobblers sounded off very close and a third off to the far north! Despite the conditions a stalk was planned to get within fly down range of the closest birds. Getting ever closer, a deer spooked from the thick wooded area shutting the gobbling competition to silence. The two closest birds decided to take flight to the southeast after becoming alert to my advance! Should have set up in the field and attempted to call them in but such is the perils of a turkey hunter!
Moving off to the southeast to a field two hundred yards distant – the set up was completed. The faint gobble to the north seemed to be getting closer as he approached down the valley running from the northwest. Although creating much anticipation the gobble seemed now getting more distant! After two hours watching all of the other birds, including a pair of Red Shouldered Hawk, the decoy spread was moved to the north edge of the field with no better result! Another move was planned as I surmised my luck was as usual – non-existent!
Walking down into the valley a distinct eight-point shed was found, maybe my luck was improving. At least plenty of exercise was achieved. Back on the field top after crossing the ravine, another shed antler was found. Walking around a wooded bend, staying close to the woods edge paid off as slight movement was noticed in the field! The distant gobbler was occupied, not noticing my advance! Reversing direction, the decision was made to attempt interception, but the two hens not noticed earlier caught my presence with all participants vacating to the southwest!
Now the game was on! I decided to advance over two ravines distant to attempt relocation as I figured that was about the distance a turkey would cover to evade my earlier advance. Crossing the open field, a scratching sound was heard in the ravine before me! Gambling my approach was unseen as they occupied the below sight level of the valley hill side before me, I advanced to head them off further down the valley. Luckily a deer trail was clean enough to move noiselessly, an approach was slowly coming to fruition, but no turkeys were evident! Maybe the earlier sounds were that of a squirrel or deer?
Suddenly, a gobbler materialized from the hillside below not twenty yards distant! His waddles were cherry red and thick beard were evident as his bronze back shined as he moved to evade! Instinctively I shot for the head as he fled but no result! Did vegetation block my pattern? Now thirty-five yards distant and fleeing on the ground the second shot rolled him to the forest floor finishing the quick ordeal and my heart could start beating again! Quickly approaching the downed bird his size was evident and his thick beard and large head were impressive! His curled-up spurs indicated a mature bird – his heft packing him out confirmed his stature as the boss of the woods!
Thanking the creator for this trophy of the woods and giving thanks for his importance in my life during this hunt may have been negated by my cussing and fussing over attempting to take posed pictures of the fallen bird with my phone on the rugged hillside! My normal fallibility as a human and hunter somehow waned this morning. The warm sunny day and mornings’ events reminded one of the old days when the turkey population was much larger and more active. It was good to hear the gobbling off the roost of the several toms heard this morning. Two found sheds earlier this morning set the tone for the good fortune to come! Although luck, divine or otherwise, played a great hand, my experience and knowledge of the terrain and ability to move undetected were major factors in another extreme turkey hunt for a bird to be never forgotten! As my years progress – the hunting enjoyment of the outdoors become ever more precious!