Hunting is something that is hard to explain to those who have not grown up with
it. It is being close to nature. it is experiencing the still of the morning,
and calm of the afternoon. It is waiting for 10 minutes or 10 days for that moment.
Sometimes it is easy and sometimes you come away empty handed. But always, you
come back that day/week/season with something more than you left.
Memorial Day comes. My last day in the Blind
of my chosen spot. My faith in my choice is beginning to wane.
My faith in my calling is shaken. Why have the turkeys forsaken
me? Have I not bought all the right equipment? Have I not practiced
my clucks, purrs, peas-peas, and playful hen series? Have I not
watched all the Turkey Season run up shows on TV?
I awake at 3:30a, strangely energetic. I can FEEL today is going
to be different. I go through the routine more quickly than normal
and find myself heading out the door well in advance of my normal
time. I walk through the woods to the field and begin crossing.
Immediately a skunk decides to greet me. She plays the role of
Rhino and charges me before retreating. It is almost like I am
in Africa, except instead of the risk of a trampling, I'ld have
to endure going to work smelling of 'nature'. We play that game
for a bit as I try holding my ground while trying to act like
anything other than a predator. It takes me a good 10 minutes
extra to get around the lovely lady skunk and finally she decides
I am no risk to her and she melts into the field headed into the
I settle into my blind, and I wait. Today I will be patient.
More patient than before. Active calling has not brought the Toms
out, so today I will be coy. Today I will be the reluctant hen....
shy even. As light breaks I start off with locator clucks. There
is a gobble far off. I wait. I am shy. I am..... waiting. Every
15 minutes or so I put out a soft series of locator calls, switching
between my GS Slate and the GS mini-box. After an hour I do one
hard series. Each hard series, I find the gobbling response it
closer, but slowly.
Around 8:00am I see the Tom. This time he has come in towards
the top of the field. He stands with his neck stretched high.
He calls out to the hen, "Come to me he says. See how magnificent
I am." I ignore his advances. Slowly he moved along the woodline
down in my direction. Then suddenly a neighbor starts his tractor
and the Tom is spooked. He runs half way down the field and leaps
into the woods. NNNNOOOOOOO!!!! My head slumps. My day, is it
over? I raise my head and resume my series. Doing the same things
that brought him into sight before.
9:00a comes and my wife text msg's me. The kids are getting a
bit crazy and more moody than usual. How long will I be?
I answer back that I will give it until 10am and then head back through the
woods, probably back to the house around 11a.
At 9:30a I've started to clean up the blind of snack bar wrappers and Diet
Dew when it happens. A gobble EXPLODES behind the blind!
I lean back and move the flap on one of the windows on the blind. The Tom is
about 20 yards away staring down the decoy. My heart takes off! I lean forward
and start the camera, and I assume the kneeling stance ready for the Tom to
clear the closed windows of the blind and come into my shooting lane. Ten minutes
go by and nothing. Fifteen minutes. I lean back and look again to find the
Tom in full strut. He is not going to commit.
My heart sinks for a minute and I make my decision. I have to
give up on the hopes of filming the shot and work for the Tag
I turn myself in the blind and peek out of the window flap. I have to lower
the window in the back of the blind and take my shot. No easy task, but I am
lucky that the Eastman Blind uses magnets to hold up the windows and the window
facing the Tom does not have the velcro screening up.
I shift the bow to my right hand where I hold the bow upright
by the Cam. I reach out and put my left hand on the left corner
of the window. Peeking through the gap, I wait. As the Tom dances
and prances I wait for my moment. The tom circles slowly, and
the moment he covers his vision with his fan, I pull the left
corner of the blind window. The Tom turns fast thinking he is
hearing the hen rustle. I FREEZE! The tom is unsure why the hen
is not coming in, so he puffs some more and continues his dance.
He circles yet again after about 4 minutes and I pull the right
side. He spins quickly and I FREEZE! My heart is pounding and
my throat is dry. I am still partially hidden, as the center of
the window is held up by a hook and loop. I slide my hand slowly
up and grasp the clasp in my fingers and thumb. Turkey tom spins
yet again and I flick the hooks, don't ask where that skill comes
from please, and pull the window half the way down. I FREEZE!
Now the turkey notices the blind looks different and is more wary.
But, the wind is blowing gently and it is causing the decoy to
move. He becomes distracted again and concentrates on the Hen.
Another 4-5 minutes go by, and it seems like hours. Finally he
turns his fan again and I get the window all the way down! My
breathing is haggard, and my hands are shaking. I can not believe
he has not spooked. I can not believe I am still in there.
So the window is all the way down, but the bow is not in my hands
and my mask is down. MY MASK IS DOWN??!?! Crap. In the excitement
I forgot to put my mask up and my pasty wife Northeastern mug
is shining bright and I am silhouetted in an open window with
another open window directly behind me. I am frozen. I am a tree.
I am relying on my Mossy Oak clothes and hat to convince this
Tom at 20 yards that I am nothing more than a big mound of vegetation.
He turned and fans. I my mask up AND my hands on my bow, but the
bow only half way up when he peers over his shoulder.
Now he is a noticing something is not quite right. While strutting
he moved to the other side of the tree, moving behind the tree
as he goes. As he moved behind the tree, I come to full draw!
He steps out, one step... two steps. I hold a slight bit high
and release. THUMP! The NAP Spitfires, launched from the PSE Diablo
hits its mark and the turkey drops in his tracks. He shudders
twice as I burst out of the blind and perform the Coup de grâce.
It has been over 40 minutes of blood pumping action. Alternating
between moments if extremely fast movements and minutes frozen
in the form of a tree. It has been the most exciting Spring hunt
yet for me.
It has taken me many a morning (can only hunt to Noon here in
Maine), and was my last day in this spot. I was taken out of my
game plan, missed my video, and shot out of a window that started
off closed and ended up being the direction of my success. I can't
say enough about what it means to keep at it. To keep going out,
to keep trying different techniques. To be aware and to never
consider the day done until your time is up.
Special thanks goes out to my brother who tagged out on a Jake
earlier and forced me to keep trying. To Mossy Oak for letting
me sit without 20yards of turkey and not cause him to run, and
to Tracy at GS Calls for his awesome Slate and Mini Box Call.
Lastly, thanks to PSE for making a GREAT bow in the Diablo. It
just keeps on doing its job, chance after chance.