Sunday, April 17, 2011

Turkey Hunting 2011 Part 2

Part 1 is here.

Not seeing any wild turkey on my first day was no reason to be discouraged. At least we heard them. They’re there.

Visiting N is not just a hunting trip. Having been friends for so long our quality time is spent at his vintage farmhouse with his wife and family or helping with chores on one of his nearby production farms, as he calls them.

N and I first met in about 1973 when he attended Purdue University. His future wife and mine were dorm mates. We all go way back and try to get together often because we have so much in common.

Turkey hunting is a good excuse to get together. So is duck hunting, goose hunting and urban cocktail hunting when they make a trip up north for a visit.

Day two was no different from day one. Waking up at 4:30 am is normal for me. The weather was similar to early summer, a departure form our abnormally chilly spring only 265 miles to the north. They have longer and greener grass, leafier trees and moderate humidity.

Once at our destination I took my spot and planned it out as if I knew what I was doing. It appeared this would be a carbon copy of the day before. It was.

The deer passed by almost if on cue. The storks flew by and dropped long ropes of white poop. The owls wouldn’t shut up. And the turkeys gobbled like mad until about 7am and then silence. A sound came from behind that startled me, a ground gobble. The turkeys very close and I was helpless.

If I got up the birds would freak. If I made a sharp move they would spook. If I turned my head oh so slowly I might get a fix on their position. Maybe.

Slowly as if to be painful I turned my head to the left where there was quite a sight. Ten yards away across the creek, there they were, looking right at me. Imagine three long brown sticks with huge baby blue lollipops stuck on top. The wattle-like red thingie that sticks out below their beaks were dangling and that part they call the snood tipped it in as I got a good look. These were mature tom turkeys judging by their size. But, what to do?

There was no way for me to get off a good, safe shot. All I could do was slowly turn my head back forward. So I wait. I listen. Nothing.

Then out of the corner of my eye to the left I see one big blue lollipop with the bright red snood and wattle (I just like typing those words) flapping away at about 30 yards. He stopped, laughed at the decoys and kept walking away from me. Then came another. He stopped, laughed at the decoys and kept walking. Then came another, and another for a total of five nice sized birds. No takers, they drifted into a ravine across from me and headed over to N’s position.

Not long after three more turkeys entered my left field of vision out of range and followed the same path. That was that. None of them wanted to play with me.

I looked ahead about 9am and saw N leaving his position.

Day 2: Skunked again.

Not hunting doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do at N’s place. N owns one farm where he has a silo/office/housing unit. He turned an old metal silo into a clubhouse for a sporting clay course he operates. He rents the upstairs living quarters to a young fella who prefers renting a place like that over some cheesy apartment building in town. N never leaves any money on the table.

A few sporting clay shooters were scheduled so we rode along with them and operated the commercial clay launchers for them. These two are retired school teachers and could hit in the 80’s out of 100. The fella on the left was shooting a 28 gage over-under and rarely missed. If you know anything about wing shooting, that’s damn good.

After a great farmhouse country dinner we went out by the pond to relax. I noticed what appeared to be cute little muskrats swimming around near shore acting as if they were about to have sex. N confirmed my observation and ran into the garage to fetch a rifle and get in a little muskrat plinking time.

At first I thought he was grabbing a .22 rifle but was not surprised to see him emerge with a scoped AR-15. “.22’s just bounce off them bastards”, claimed N. He demonstrated by cutting them in half with .223.

N has a landowner pest license form the DNR. His backyard pond is a dammed up creek and muskrats can easily erode the earthen dam if they get out of hand. Besides, they’re totally worthless.

He shoots as many muskrats as possible before they breed themselves out of control and keeps his eye sharp at the same time.

Muskrat love. Down on the farm.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Gerry - Thank you for this! I am a city girl, but spent a few summer vacations on my grandparents ranch - horses and cows and chickens - that was it. This has been truly interesting!