The crisp early morning air tickled my face and the darkness enveloped me and a light drizzle began to soak our clothes. I had quickly learned that turkey hunting isn’t for the lazy. It was the opening day of youth season in Ohio, I and was itching to be in the woods in the lull after deer season. Having hunted turkeys in the past with no success, I knew the challenges involved, but I was ready and determined. My good friend Ivan (check out his site) and master caller Frank were accompanying me on this hunt and would work to get a big tom close. We carefully picked our way across a field, the frosty ground crunching under our boots, and entered the forest, surrounded by hardwoods reaching for the heavens. After finding what appeared to be a suitable spot, and having placed decoys, we sat, listened, and waited for the sun to rise. After a few hours of calling without so much as a cluck from a hen, we decided it was time to move. I was extremely disappointed, assuming the worst, and convinced I would return home turkey-less yet again.
We decided to try the edge of the field we had crossed earlier, though it seemed like years ago, and began calling. It only took seconds for two gobbles to pierce the air. I shivered as adrenaline surged through my veins and I struggled to calm my breath and maintain my composure. I felt as though I were shaking the entire tree I was sitting against. After about another half-hour of calling without the birds coming any closer, though, I had sufficiently calmed down. In fact, I was devastated, thinking we would never see the beautiful creatures and get a shot.
We made a new game plan: Frank would stay behind as Ivan and I snuck back through the woods towards another field to try and gain a better position. He would continue to call the whole time to cover our sound. We reached a ravine and set up on top of the hill. Ivan called, matching Franks’ cutting in the background, creating a beautiful melody that echoed through the hills. Finally, I saw the toms on the far hillside, mere specks, but the adrenaline began to course again. I raised my gun in preparation, balancing it on my knees. The birds continued to walk our way, then disappeared into the ravine. It seemed like hours before I saw the lead tom peep his head over my edge of the hill. I leaned my face into the gun and he caught the movement, turning to look right at me. It’s now or never I thought, and squezzed the trigger after placing the bead on the only visible three inches of his head that I could see.
He disappeared down the hill, and Ivan jumped up and told me to run down the hill after him. There was no need, however, and he was stone cold dead at the bottom. He was a beautiful twenty-pound bird with a nine-inch beard and one-inch spurs, and excellent trophy, and superb first bird. I was elated and was greeted at the top of the hill by high fives and congratulations. I was so excited and pumped that I didn’t even notice the weight of the bird as I carried him out of the woods. It was my first bird, but most certainly won’t be my last.
Posted on Wed, April 16, 2008
by Alec Janda filed under