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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Musings: First Turkey Hunt

Yesterday was the opening day of turkey season here in Missouri and this morning I returned from my first hunt.

The weather was beautiful, clear and cool without even a whisper of a breeze.  All of my gear was ready and I had thoroughly practiced all of my calls and techniques while in my comfy armchair at home but my real-life skills being minimal meant my chances of dazzling success or horrific failure held equal weight--yes! 

I took along the camera with the intent to take some pictures but my scouting went a little long so I had to choose between having numerous photos or having enough firewood to last the night.  Since the forecast was for 40 degrees, I chose the latter; but I did manage to take a couple of quick shots.  The first one is looking west out over a beautiful sunset that didn't really translate into a good photograph and the other is perhaps the most poorly composed photograph on the planet. Enjoy!

I blew my owl call a few times in the off chance that a tom might respond but the only response was an owl in the distance.  Shortly afterwards, a flutter of wings in the treetop revealed an inquisitve barred owl.  I used my call and we chatted back and forth a while before he flew off to greener pastures.

Anyway, I broke camp before the sun came up after a long cold night of stirring the fire and listening to several hundred owls argue, two loquacious whippoorwills call, a lone but very vocal deer, and two packs of screaming coyotes compete for who could wake me up the most times.  Oh, and I forgot to mention that an ember from the fire burned through my coat sometime around 2 am.  Good times.

I set up in the field I had scouted the previous night and blew an owl call a few times with no response.  I waited a few minutes blew again and nothing.  I tried my box call in conjunction with my mouth call and successfully lured in two hunters--score!  After letting them go because they were too small, I waited for them to clear the field and worked the box call again.  A gobble in the distance sent my adrenaline running!  I tried the mouth call--nothing.  Back to the box call--a gobble.  I kept working the box call a little while and then quit because I read somewhere that the silence might pique a tom's curiosity and he would come to investigate why things went silent.

I waited.  Ten minutes, twenty, forty and no turkey.  I called again but this time where was no response.  The gobbler was gone.

I gathered my things and moved down towards another field 3/4 or a mile or so away that I thought might be promising.  As I got closer, sure enough, I could here gobbles--along with another hunter's box call.  The curse of hunting on public land.  I hung out a while since the field was between me and my car and enjoyed the beautiful morning.  The redbuds are blooming as well as many of the spring flowers and the forest is a lush green.  Even though my first hunt didn't result in a gobbler it is an experience I will always remember especially whenever I look at the gaping six inch hole in my coat.

Oh, and I was cruising around the news and came across this story:

Blind teen bags big bird in first turkey hunt

Rub it in why don't ya. ;)

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