Turkey Hunt Recap

Darin and I hit the woods this past weekend hoping to kick off the hunts of 2010 with a tom on the ground. Darin was behind the gun and I was behind the camera. We kicked it off with a sit in the blind on the evening of Day One. We had 4 deer come through but no turkeys. With the sun just setting, we heard a couple birds roost behind us. After a few moments we exited the area with the plan of catching these birds in the morning. From a spot a few hundred yards away, a couple of quick crow calls confirmed a gobbler was in the area. A review of trail cameras showed us a couple of nice birds in the area within the last couple of weeks.

The morning of Day 2 was quite windy. Although temperatures were mild, the wind brought the chill to near freezing. As the morning woods began to awaken, a gobbler broke the silence from less than a hundred yards. Within a few moments, he crossed behind us on a trail ~ 25 yds away through thick brush. Once the turkey was in a good approach direction, Darin seduced this gobbler in with the calls. Every call made was answered...louder and louder…closer and closer until we could see the tom making his way right down a trail 5 yards out in front. The video camera was rolling as he made himself known. When he reached a clearing just a few yards away, Darin took aim and pulled the trigger.

The bird did a cartwheel from the noise of the blast and swiftly left the scene. A review of the footage gave evidence of a shot that was high. A clean miss. Moments later, Darin spied the well-alerted tom slipping through the timber. At some point, every hunter is going to miss an animal. Unfortunately, today was Darin’s day. All we could do is stick it out and wait for the next opportunity, knowing we had the right setup to make it happen.

The rest of the day brought us 9 hens and 2 other toms. The toms never made it into range and we left the blind that evening with a hope for what was to come on Day 3.

The morning of Day 3 was absolutely quiet accept for the soulful calls of the loon pair that had just returned for the season to the nearby lake. By mid-morning we had heard one distant gobble and had seen no turkeys. We had planned to hunt until shortly after 9am, in order to take care of some late morning commitments. The late morning had looked very quiet on the trail cameras over the past few weeks, anyways.

Shortly before our departure, a lone hen worked her way through in front of us and was out of sight. With that exit, we packed our gear and got ready to head back to HQ. As I reached for the zipper of the blind, I took one last peek out into the woods in front of us. “Turkeys!”, I loudly whispered to Darin. At this point I was standing up against the front of the blind with the camera. I quickly kneeled down. Then I heard Darin whisper, “Tom!”. With my head and the camera totally exposed in the front window, the tom started getting nervous. He was at about 8 yards when he started working away through the timber. I pointed the camera in the direction, but couldn’t confirm location. At this moment, I put myself in the shoes of the hunter and the opportunity of redemption that lay before us. I whispered, “I can’t find him, shoot if you have a shot.” With that the silence was once again broken with a Super Black Eagle bark. After the shot, I moved the camera around and found the bird behind a tree, giving up his last flap of the wing. Darin got him. Unfortunately, it was the cameraman’s turn to miss the shot. But, at that moment, it didn’t matter. I got to share a turkey kill with my brother. That’s all that mattered.

The final score: 21 lbs., 9” beard, ¾” spurs. Congratulations, Darin.

In reflection, Darin made the comment, “I’m glad it worked out how it did. I got to spend two more days learning about the ways and habits of turkey than if I had gotten the tom in the first hour of the day before.”

Tomorrow morning, we’ll be back at it - my chance for cameraman redemption, with my cousin, Dan, behind the gun.

Good luck to everyone during the rest of the season,