Wrapping up Turkey Season.

Yesterday was the end of my turkey tags. We’d planned to go out in the morning, before both of us had to work. This time, 4 am rolled around and I was wide awake. Matt, however, is exhausted. Between his job and everything we do on the weekends, he’s getting pretty burnt out, but don’t expect him to slow down any. He’ll get too bored.

Anyway. Intending to take advantage of even the last hour of turkey tags, I went out this afternoon after I ran a bunch of errands after work.

Readers, there are a number of stories I wish I could tell you. That I picked exactly the perfect spot, for instance, and had the entire flock of turkeys walk right in front of me, and that I plunked the tom from 10 feet and he never saw me. That I called the tom in from two hills away. That I picked even a mediocre spot, but made it work with my incredible skillz.

But no. Here is what happened. I parked in the normal spot, and walked up the normal tractor access. Remembering what happened my first day out, I stopped halfway up the access road, and loaded my gun. I continued up the road, and walked carefully over that rise. No birds. I turned to my left, and continued across the field. I came over another rise.

You guys. The tom was standing maybe 30 yards in front of me. He froze, I froze. I dropped into a crouch. I’m short enough that the clover provided some cover. I saw him turn, I saw his beard move as he whirled to run for the trees. If I hadn’t had the turkey decoys in my left hand, I could have brought my shotgun up. I could have had my first turkey before even getting to my spot on the last day. I could have gotten this turkey, this confounded turkey who has been evading us (and presumably many other hunters, as quiet as he is).  I didn’t spook him too badly- he sort of strolled off into the trees once he couldn’t see me in the clover.

My MSPaint skills are impeccable.

My MSPaint skills are impeccable.

I am nothing if not stubborn. So, I made my way to my spot. I figured I’d stayed crouched down for a while, and the tom had moved down to the field. Maybe he would come back past me or something. So I sat. Nothing, nothing, and more nothing, so I scootched back down the cut, closer to the field. A tree in my previous spot fell not 5 feet from where I had been sitting. Then the thunderstorms rolled in. There was lightning, thunder rumbled. I got soaked, again.  Neither sight nor sound of turkeys, damnit. So, seeing more thunderheads off to the west, and hearing louder thunder, I called it an evening just after sunset. 

We learned a lot this season. We saw plenty of birds, even if from a distance. We’ll hopefully spend Summer and Fall checking up on their habits on this bit of land, so we know where the hell they go when they disappear on us. We do still have Fall turkey season this year. Maybe by then we’ll find additional land to hunt turkey on. But now, that tom. Now I totally get how people develop years-long relationships with wily turkey toms. I never in my life thought I would experience heartbreak at the (figurative) hands of a stupid bird.

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13 thoughts on “Wrapping up Turkey Season.

  1. do what i do, hook all your gear to your backpack.. blind, decoys, chair, everything. while moving have the shotgun shouldered in the firing position, one shell up the tube, thumb on the safety ready to fire. you’ll get many more turkeys mid-afternoon this way, often on the way back to the truck. turkeys WILL roost on the ground, I’ve walked 5 feet from a snoozing turkey before it spooked and gave flight. turkey season i hunt with the same constant readiness as quail season. always ready to execute a quick snap shot.

    • The mosquitos weren’t an issue, for once. Ticks, however. Normal deer ticks and these creepy-looking, big reddish ones? Never seen their like before, but parasites freak me right the hell out.

  2. Yes. Sadly, I’ve missed kill opportunities using the bathroom (number 1), reaching for a snack, giving up and stepping out of the blind only to find the buck standing behind me, and I always get a bite fishing while reaching for a beer. Like G&T said, “You’re going to have that.”

    • See, last deer season I got lucky. I was futzing with my hat, and the doe popped up in front of me. She was upwind, maybe 20 yards from me, and just stared at me in the tree shadows. I slowly lowered my hands to my shotgun across my knees, raised it, cocked it, and after she took a few steps *closer*, fired.

  3. Hey, greetings from N.FL.! Sounds like you all had a fun hunt and learned some things – maybe you can come down south and teach us a few things because we obviously need some help! Were tossing in a few odd articles on SH but were getting ready for our first scouting trip of the 2013 deer season sat. morning. We found a big section of public land last fall thats tough to get to so were off to learn about 600 acres like the back of our hand.
    Did u all get to hunt birds in the snow? i think that would be a blast. I love deer hunting in the snow – it def. a big advantage!
    Do you have out a big garden? I decided to skip mine because the deer would just eat it up.
    Not meaning to be crude here but there was an add on Craigslist the other day that was a killer. Guy was advertising “German Pubic Hair” to use around your garden to keep thye deer out. Using human hair is no new thing but he was really touting it up that it was German. He was saying it had a little extra “Kick” to the scent, as if Germans don’t take a bath as often as they should. He said he had 400 pounds of the stuff and was selling it by the pound. Where would you get 400 # of German pubic hair? From the German obviously but do they do? Guess they have a place you can sell it – thats weird.
    Well my BBQ chicken is done so i better get it off the grill! mhyave a great weekend – thgank god for Americas fighting men and women! J

    • Hi Jody! Yeah, we picked up a few ideas to try for next turkey season. The turkeys on this land barely made a peep all season, so calling is probably out. It was actually pretty warm for the week of our tags, but as soon as they ended we had another frost. If we had had tags in April, there may have been snow. My garden this year is medium sized, but we have up deer netting just to keep out all the rabbits in our neighborhood.

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