5 RAINY DAYS = 1 MEMORABLE MOMENT
5 RAINY DAYS = 1 MEMORABLE MOMENT
The sound of an annoying alarm clock read in strong bold numbers, 4:50 AM. Barely awake, I was dreaming about taking that dominant gobbler before the end of the season. This was the last day of my five-day season and I wasn't planning on coming home with my vest empty.
Wiping my eyes and wishing that I had not stayed up so late the night before, I wanted to go back to the soft pillow and warm blankets. Looking out the window was depressing, just another rainy and windy day. The rain splashed the window, miserably leaking down, as if the glass were crying. Rumbles of thunder and clashes of lightening left me thinking twice about venturing afield. Young pine trees were bent over and branches littered the front yard. I knew just then that I was up for a challenging day.
Tearing through my clothes left me without a facemask. I found it hiding underneath the bed with the candy wrappers and some shirts I supposed to hang up the day before. Pausing to look at the time reassured me that I had a mere twenty minutes before going out. Putting the final jacket and pants over my four layers of clothes made me look like a big camouflage bush. Decoys, calls, lunch and a quick sip of orange juice and I was out the door. Bracing myself from the wind was rough, I was an umbrella in a hurricane. I hopped on the Atv and raced towards my destination.
Setting up on some gobblers that I had roosted the night before, put me in a sweet spot, so I thought. Eagerly I put a couple of my favorite decoys out to test the weary Toms. I settled against the oak tree, and brushed the wet twigs and leaves away from the tree making a dark black spot for me to sit unnoticed. Propping the gun barrel on my knees and with the stock grooved to my shoulder, I was as ready the gobblers were to mate with the hens.
Cautiously grasping my Friction call out of my turkey vest reminded me of the last Turkey Calling Competition I was involved with. Tee-Uck, Tee-Uck, Tee-uck, the friction call sounded as pretty as my girl friend. The sweet sound angled towards the hot Toms waiting in the trees, which tempted them to gobble. The gobble of an adult male bird is what drives hunter's nation wide to hunt. The heavy storm drifted west uncovering the light blue horizon. Minutes later, half a sun drew faint shadows of my decoys onto the bare earth. I could hear the birds wings clobbering branches on their way down from the roost. Being educated and from experience, I knew these birds would come to the field to peck for worms. I Tee-Ucked out a couple more yelps with a few raspy clucks, and the fleet of the gobblers gobbled.
Five hens and three long beards appeared out of the foggy woods. The three toms looked awkwardly at my decoys, and with a snappy drum, they were all in full strut, displaying their enormous body to the females. I pondered the plan of attack, knowing that the toms wouldn't come into my foam decoys, when they have live hens tagging around. The gruesome wind blew harshly against the flock of birds, the rain started dumping buckets. Another front rolled in. In spite, I waited. . . waited. . . and waited. The turkeys calmly fed, scratching the ground for worms and corn. As boredom set in I thought out a guaranteed plan. I would patiently wait until the low slope in the field hid all the turkeys. This gave me a chance to put a stalk on these gobblers.
As they all vanished like a magic trick, so did I. Crawling on my stomach inching forward in the water-puddled field left me with the thought, "What am I doing?" Getting muddy, wet, cold and this plan will fail with one hen's eye catching my undistinguished movements. Feeling like a marine in battle, I crawled until I could here the ground tremble from the three musketeers gobbles. Vibration shivered up my spine and got my blood pumping.
The mud was horrible; it dripped off my face and stained my camouflage black. I then lay in a prone position with my gun resting on my blistered hands. Instantaneously the gobblers all threw up their red heads and scanned the field for predators before they moved. The coast was clear except for me. The male turkeys waddled there way towards me! I couldn't believe this was happening! My whole season was down in the dumps and now at this very moment was my time to take full advantage. I knew what I had to do, and it would have to be quick.
Wiping my watering eyes, I peered down the barrel until that small metal bead was lined with the gobblers vitals. I rapidly viewed the other toms one last time before I took the shot, being sure of my target and the size of him. The safety was off with a click and so was the trigger. . . KABOOM! The Remington 12 Gauge did its job. A wall of smoke separated me from the impressive gobbler. In an instant I found myself running towards the turkey. Surprised and chuckling like a little schoolboy, I had no idea I had taken down a 20 pound, 10 inch bearded, 1 inch spurred dominant bird. Three-hundred-sixty days I had been waiting to toss that trophy bird over my shoulder and walk home with my vest weighing me down twenty more pounds.
Scouting and preparation were essential to this memorable hunt. Long hours of shooting, calling, and daydreaming all paid off in the stretch.
Now only 365 days to go until I can feel that indescribable rush hunter's feel when hunting these illusive birds.
By Brandon Wikman, Team Outdoorsmen Adventures Pro Staff