CacheCrazy.Com: Spring Gobbler Season

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Spring Gobbler Season

If hunting is about patience and perseverance, then spring gobbler hunting is really about patience and perseverance.  Nevertheless, it’s one of the most fun and most challenging opportunities that an outdoor lifestyle has to offer, and the spring season is a beautiful time of year to be afield.  You just never know what you’ll see, and the 2011 campaign captured it all for me.
The first hunt of the year brought the sounds of turkeys gobbling, but nothing came my way except two deer browsing their way past.  The second outing to the same location made for the first rattlesnake sighting of the year.  When I went to retrieve my decoys, I spotted the buzztail lying on some rocks and enjoying the late-morning sun.  I watched him for a few moments but when I moved to get my camera, he quickly shot underneath the nearest stone.  I took a long stick and gently tapped the ground hoping to hear him rattle, but he stayed quiet.  Not wanting to disturb him further, I left him be.  On the third day, I heard turkeys gobbling on the opposite side of the valley from where I was located.  I was disappointed but not surprised – turkeys have a way of keeping you guessing.  I stayed anyway, hoping to perhaps call in a silent bird.  I caught movement out ahead, but it wasn’t a turkey – a coyote was hunting along the ridgeline, 100 yards out.  I watched him until he disappeared from my sight. 
Deer, rattlesnakes, and coyotes are all wonderful sightings, but the turkeys just weren’t cooperating.  While I knew they were in the area, I just couldn’t seem to pin them down.  Perseverance is easy to define.  You just stay at it.  But patience, well, there’s a fine line between patience and madness.  So on that third morning, I made a calculated decision to switch locations and be patient somewhere else.  What a wise move it would turn out to be.  Even now, I can’t help but think about it in real-time…

A perfect bluebird morning and high with optimism, I am set up at my new vantage point by .  The idea is to sit as long as possible calling every 15 minutes and just wait it out. With two decoys in a clearing in front of me and a blown-down tree and rock outcrop at my back, I make my first call… 
The sun is warm and I am reasonably comfortable.  At , I send off another series of quiet yelps… 
The decoys gently sway in the wind and the towhees trill their unmistakable “drink-your-tea” song.  I check my watch to be sure I don’t over-call.  At , I yelp again... 

Robins come and go and a small spider crawls across my gloved hand.  Fifteen minutes slowly tick by.  At I continue with the strategy…

GOBBLEOBBLEOBBLE! 

All right, that’s why we’re playing this game.  He is pretty far away and behind me and I answer him right back… 

GOBBLEOBBLEOBBLE! 

Now the old to-call-or-not-to-call dilemma…  I decide to hit him with it one more time… 

Yelp, yelp, yelp, yelp… 

Silence. 

OK.  No panic.  Don’t over-call.  Don’t over-call.  He knows where you are.  Stick with the plan. 

At I make a few soft yelps and suddenly hear the crunching of leaves behind me.  Ever so slightly I peak over my shoulder – he is right there.  There is no way I am making another call – oh man, don’t look at me.  If I didn’t think he’d see the movement, I’d spit the mouth call right into my head net.  That’s how close he is. 

Pffffft, duuuuuuuummmmmm.  Pffffft, duuuuuuuummmmmm. 

The sound of his spitting and drumming goes right through my chest. 

Pffffft, duuuuuuuummmmmm.  Pffffft, duuuuuuuummmmmm.

Don’t move.  He’ll see you so fast.  Come on, go to the decoys.  Go toward the decoys.  

Pffffft, duuuuuuuummmmmm.  Pffffft, duuuuuuuummmmmm.

Five minutes go by.

Pffffft, duuuuuuuummmmmm.  Pffffft, duuuuuuuummmmmm.

Ten minutes go by.  He’s still directly behind me, and I dare not look.  I even close my eyes.  I am frozen, yet I am convinced he’s going to spy me. 

Now he is slowly moving to my right.  He has not seen me, but where is he going?  No, don’t walk away!  Yes, that’s it! 

Finally I see the bright red head poke out of the brush directly to my right.  I still can’t do anything.  The gun uselessly lies on my lap.  I need him to get fully into the open before I even think of moving. 

Fifteen minutes go by, but he’s coming now.  He is going to clear the brush.  He is going to the clearing.  Wait for it.  Wait for it…


With my gear slung over one shoulder and the welcome weight of a Penn’s Woods tom over the other, I reflected on the hunt.  For every hundred mistakes you make, you get maybe one time where you do everything right and it goes perfectly.  Yes, it had been a spectacular day, but it had also been a great season.  With all I had seen and the eventual success, I couldn’t believe I deserved such fortune.  

As I headed for home at the conclusion of my spring gobbler season, I quietly said a prayer of thanks for all of life’s blessings. 

2 comments:

BLOODHOUNDED said...

I am not a hunter but, I can surly appreciate a true sportsman and Dodger, you are first class. Congratulations on your conquest and the experience that went with it. In geocaching and turkey hunting, the great outdoors provides so many wonderful opportunities. Take advantage of every one!Love the story!

BigAl said...

Congratulations are in order my friend. You really scored big with this one. No I don't mean getting your turkey, that was the icing on the cake, I mean being able to be outdoors and enjoy everything there is to see and hear. Too many people don't take the time to get out and enjoy life in the woods. Even if you don't hunt getting outdoors can lead to some really memorable times. Not too many people can say they have seen what you saw while you were out there. I just love it when I am in the woods and I see something as beautiful as a coyote or anything else. I am truly glad you had such a great time. I am also glad you brought home a gobbler. I hope I get over my cold soon so I can be back out there looking for mine. I know he's out there somewhere. Gobbleobbbleobble!!

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comments, you mean a lot to us at CacheCrazy.Com!

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...