My First Turkey Hunt
My First Turkey Hunt
The excitement of a new hunting adventure was running through my veins. I had never before ventured out into the spring forests in search of wild turkey. With permission to hunt my Grandmas property, which butts up against my home land I had three days to add wild turkey to my Easter feast.
An hour before sunrise I step out of my house into the darkness of morning with all but my blue eyes covered in camo. A 1/2 mile hike along the edge of the woods puts me in the corner of a crp field. A couple of years ago this propery was logged and the loggers left tree tops everywhere. These tops make excellent natural ground blinds. I set out my one hen decoy and sat in the dirt, cross legged, in the middle of a clump of tree tops. It's cold, foggy, and quiet. I haven't been in the woods since late deer season. This feels sooo right!
As a black starry sky slowly turns dark blue, erasing those distant fires in space, the forest and winds come alive. I hear the nearby hoot of an owl, then a rooster crow, and magically some gobbling Toms. I let the toms know where my he is, by sounding off my box call a couple of times. I pick up my book and read as I wait out in hopes of seeing these Toms. An hour in cross legged position is getting tiring. I peek out into the crp field... no turkeys. I hit my box call and a couple more times then lay down, in the dirt, on my back an read as I continue to wait out these toms. I'm virtually impossible to see laying down. Additionally, it is very difficult for me to see much of anything. I can just make out my decoy. I read, check my decoy, then read some more.
This is my first year turkey hunting. I prefer bow and arrow over guns for all my hunting; however, this being my first time I decide to use my 20 ga single shot shotgun. I wanted to increase my odds of harvesting a bird. At 50 yards I could destroy a small box with 100's of bee bees. Michigan allows me one spring tom turkey tag. If I can get a tom close enough, I will harvest him any age, a jake is fine for my first turkey.
As I'm laying there reading, I hear some quiet putts coming from the direction of my decoy. I sit up very slowly and see 4 monster Tomms at my decoy 15 yards away. I can't believe it! My first year and I'm going to harvest a mature Tom! I reach for my 20 ga. What? What the? Where is it? I left my weapon at home. A feeling of udder despair rushes over me.
I had my backpack, shooting sticks, thermos of coffee, book, cell phone, calls. I had it all, but my weapon. The one and only piece of hunting equipment you can't do without. I was so embarrassed... my face was red as the Tom in front of me. The good news is, there is two days of turkey season left. All I can do now is video there Toms and return tommorrow in hopes of a repeat.
The next morning I over sleep. I grab my gun in painful memory of the previous days events. I decide since the sun has already risen to sneak through the woods to get to the same field-edge ground blind, since the turkeys are probably in the field already. As I walk through the spring forest I hear turkeys all around me, but see none of them. This causes me to spot n stalk my way to my blind. Out of the mystic dense forest a coyote charges towards me. Pulling myself out of shock, I put the bead on his moving vitals at 20 yards and squeeze. The hit is good :) He turns towards the swamp and goes into the murky water. He gets hung up on a water logged branch and I run over and shoot him again. I watch as he takes one last breath and his heart pumps a final time. I had to shake my head to wake up from the prehistoric instinctual figh I was in. There in the middle of a narrow deep swamp with only a leg and head above water lay a mature male praire wolf, Canis latrans. The water is over three feet deep with another yard of muck at the bottom. I balance my way across fallen logs to reach my fellow predator. He is soaking wet and good size. He was hunting the turkeys this morning as well as I.
As I ponder over the events of the last two days, I realize that I had I not forgotten my weapon the day before, I would have harvested a Tom and would not have hunted today. I would have never had this adventure with this coyote. Plus, I had one final day to tag my turkey.
The next morning I rose early. At my blind I set my one hen decoy out 15 yards, sat on the ground, called, waited, called, waited, stopped calling. After a couple of hours I hear turkeys putting and close. Cresting over a hill at 15 yards I see the red head and neck of a Tom. Before I can see his beard or any other birds I decide to take a head shot to seal the deal on my first season bird. Boom, hit, thank you God. I harvested a jake with a 3 inch beard and round short spurs. He was and still is a trophy in my eyes. I hunted hard for that delicious bird. His tail feathers and beard are displayed in my office... right next to his possible destiny the day before... Mr. coyote.
by: Chris Town