Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Spring Turkey Season

On Saturday morning, I crawled out of bed bright and early...at 4:30 a.m. Kev and I quickly dressed, and were out the door before 5. We needed to be at the farm before 6 a.m. to try to get a turkey. We'd gone hunting 3 weeks ago, and took a couple of Kev's co-workers who were first time turkey hunters. R got a nice Jake (an immature Tom), but C didn't get one. They couldn't go with us this time, so it was just Kev, with his bow, and me with the shotgun.

We heard two Tom's gobble upon our arrival at the farm, so we quickly settled in to wait and call one in. But they only gobbled a few more times and were moving away from us. We never saw them or any hens. We gave up around 8:30 and decided to move on to our other activities for the day.

Our intent was to cut down some more cedar trees, to check on our blueberry seedlings and just spend the day screwing around at the farm, enjoying the day. We checked the neglected blueberries, and happily discovered them to be still alive and even growing!

After messing with the blueberries, we decided to drive further back in the pasture to cut down more trees. Kev took the pickup, and I followed on the 4 wheeler. We pulled past the shelter belt and he cut the engine and jumped out of the pickup. I turned off the 4 wheeler and he motioned me down, and waved me forward. He'd seen turkeys.

We stealthily scrambled up the hill to a cedar tree and from there, we saw several hens and 2 mature Toms. They were headed west, away from us. Using the cedars for cover, we attempted to see where they were going and tried to call them back to us. The Toms weren't interested in Kev's call. After all, they were sharing at least 10 hens...who needed one more?

We followed them and watched them as they were feeding in the adjacent pasture. After a few minutes, we noticed them coming back! So, we ducked into the shelter belt and ran back toward the creek. It was warming up and we decided that they would probably be heading for the shelter of the trees along the creek. After some strategizing, we decided to run across a clearing to a big elm tree that sat in the middle of the clearing.

And I mean run.

This fat 47 year old woman can still run...while carrying a shotgun, wearing her cowboy boots and not fall down. I wasn't even breathing hard upon arrival!

However, once at the elm tree, we decided to go ahead and cross the rest of the clearing to the creek and sit where we'd have a view of the hill and draw they were following back toward us. So we ran some more.

We got settled amongst the cedar trees and waited. We didn't have long to wait, less than five mintues later, 5 hens soon appeared over the hill. And right behind them were the two Toms. I had the gun up, fired, and Tom hit the ground--hard.

Kev ran over to him first. He was so excited. He looked the bird over, and did all that man stuff and decided to step off how far of a shot it was. We were guessing 40 yards, but the birds were up higher than we were, so they were actually 50 yards away--which really is just about the maximum range.

Tom weighed 20 lbs, had a 9 and 4/8's beard (yes, that's actually 1/2 inch, but when measuring turkey beards, you go by the 1/8 inch.) His spurs were 1 inch long.

Here's the funny aspect of our hunt. When we were in KC, at Cabela's, we bought a video camera that you can attach to your bow, or gun, or on the bill of your hat. Kev thought he turned it on to film the kill...but instead, he already had it on, so when we actually were shooting...the camera was off. If I was masochist, I could post the video of us walking and stalking those birds, and you could watch me run across the clearing and through the tree row...but I'm not going to do that to you.

So...I got my bird. Which changed our plans for the day. We never did cut down any trees, and we didn't end up staying all day. Instead, we drove to Mom's, got some ice, had a picnic lunch, and drove home where I helped Andy paint his new bedroom. (He moved back home on Sunday.)

We invited Mom and Dad up to feast on the bird on Sunday. He was a nice fat boy and the meat was moist and tender. We've learned that it just tastes better to eat the turkey immediately instead of putting him in the freezer until the holidays. So, we ate him.

Season doesn't end until May 31. We might go back out to see if Kev can get one with his bow. Then again, we might not. However, my Turkey season is over...until next spring.


agent713 said...

I love your writing style :) you make turkey hunting so interesting! I had to laugh though, just as I read about Tom hitting the ground I burst into explosive sneezes. I feel like I'd be a horrible hunter :P. Are you only allowed one bird per season?

Shelljo said...

Heidi, I'm pretty sure you can only get one turkey per season...but I should check the regulations for a positive answer. Most folk I know are content with one--because they are a challenge.