Monday, April 25, 2011

Turkey Hunting

Today, Monday, was opening day of the spring 2011 turkey season.  Jeff Thuss and I were up and at it bright and early by 5:00am and out to one of the finest piece of property I have ever been to.  Forbes' Field.  It is south of Goderich and situated on Porter's Hill Road just past Kitchigami side road.  It rarely disappoints.

So we got set up with three hen decoys about 20 yards in front of us.  Jeff and I sat together.  He brought the gun, I brought the callers.  It was pitch dark when we walked into our area and a turkey immediately flew out of a tree as we walked in.  I wasn't too concerned as this almost always happens to us at Forbes'.  It used to scare the crap out of me infact....  But now it is expected.  It was 5:20am or so.

By 5:50 the first gobbles start.  Nothing sounded too close, but they were coming from nearly all of our compass rose positions.  I was half expecting to start hearing them take off from their roosting trees, but I didn't.  I didn't started calling yet.  I didn't want to sound too desparate.

By 6:20am the gobbles still weren't appearing to sound closer, however they continued in frequency.  So I start up the Raspy Ole'Hen (R.O.H.) diaphram caller and get into the game.  I switched back and forth for the next 30 minutes calling with the R.O.H., and a spring loaded box caller.  If anything, the gobbles were sounding further and further away.  Dam.  It was time to up the ante.

Just before 7:00am I got way more aggressive with the calling, hence up-ing the sexual tension.  Somewhat similar to a lonely, middle-aged cougar at a fraternity rush perhaps....  I don't know.  Low and behold, the return gobbles started to get significantly closer, and closer and closer.  This continued for 10 more minutes until the Tom circled us in the blind, and approached the decoys from the rear - What an animal!  We still haven't seen it yet, but we heard it loud and clear.

This is where it got pretty awesome....  The Tom was only about 20 yards from us.  It was struting, puffing up its tail feathers, scratching the ground and gobbling its vocal chords off, but Jeff and I were in such a position that we scarcely saw this going on.  We just saw bits of it.... This continued for about 5 minutes and it seemed like the Tom was getting quite annoyed that the hens paid it no mind. 

However, it finally worked up the nerve and approached the awaiting beauties - with regrettable consequences though.  Jeff had a bead on its head.  It made its last fatefull step.

This bird was much bigger then the two I shot last year.  The beard was everything of 7 inches long and the spurs were just under 2 inches.  It had to have weighed 20 plus pounds.  And this was but one of many, many that are out in this fantastic field.  Way to go Jeff!

By 7:20am, opening morning we were done.  We had two tags, both in my name, but one is only allowed to use one tag per day.  I owed Jeff a tag from last year....  That is why he was designated shooter today.  And good on him.  This is his fourth year turkey hunting and his first bird.  Hunting isn't shooting....  I was out with him 4 years ago and he took a good crack at a turkey on his first ever day out.  He missed the turkey, and hasn't pulled the trigger since.  There are a good deal of them out there, but you have to be patient, quiet, still, and lucky even to harvest one. 

All in all it is so great to be in the bush and listening, watching and being apart of nature....  Getting the turkey is icing on the cake.  The real joy is being in the fresh air and spendng time with no worries and no cares.  Usually I take a book to read with me or a pencil and notepad to write.  But today I didn't even have the time to do eiter.  Oh well.  The season goes on for another month and I still have a tag to fill if I get the opportunity.  Hopefully I will.

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