Thursday, February 19, 2015

All About That Hunt

My fiance, Tyler had been hunting turkeys for years. I saw all the turkey fans, spurs, and beards he had kept throughout the years on display. When he talked to me about his hunts, I could see the passion in his eyes and so I wanted to try the adventure for myself.

I couldn't have asked for better weather for my first turkey hunt. Cool in the morning and warm in the afternoon. I was ready, or so I thought. Tyler and I had only the weekend to hunt the elusive thunder chicken so we made it our mission to spend as much time out in the blind. The first day went by and we didn’t see or hear anything. The next day we went back out and spent the morning in the blind again. I was getting discouraged after seeing nothing again and he could tell that I wanted to be done.

We took a lunch break and he assured me that the next spot was a “for sure” place to see something. All I could think of was why didn’t we go there first if it’s a ‘sure thing’. I started doubting Tyler’s ability to turkey hunt.

After we got to the other spot, I noticed that he didn’t grab the blind. Tyler said that we were going to stalk and move around a bit. I just rolled my eyes as we made our way towards the tree line in the distance because I was losing hope in bringing home the big tom of my dreams.

I was physically tired and cranky when we got to the tree line. The early mornings, fresh air, and hiking was taking a toll on me. He motioned to sit by a tree as he found his own tree to sit by. He could tell I was losing motivation. We sat in silence for a few minutes and he started to call softly. I heard my first gobble and drumming sound. My blood started pumping and adrenaline kicked in.

Tyler started calling more and the tom returned our calls. We silently moved in and set up our hen decoy in a clearing deeper in the woods. I positioned myself on the ground next to a tree facing a slight hill. As I sat with the decoy in front of me and Tyler behind, he whispered “He’s coming over the hill.” I readied myself for the shot as the tom made a quick peek over the hill, vanishing before I could react. I had never seen anything so pretty. The copper color of his feathers in the sun was mesmerizing. Tyler called from behind me in hopes to lure him back for a clean shot. The tom calls back but doesn't show. I started to shake not only from the excitement but muscle failure started to set in. I couldn’t hold this position for much longer. Silence. Tyler makes one more desperate call to the tom and he comes over the hill in full strut. The colors of the blue and red head are breathtaking. I shot and the big bird takes off in flight. I missed by a mile. All I could do was look back at Tyler and smile because I was hooked on turkey hunting.

It didn’t matter that I took a shot and missed or that my shoulder hurt badly. When the hunt got hard and it was looking like we were going home with nothing, we didn’t give up. Hunting isn’t about getting the biggest trophy animal, it’s about that experience, the people you’re with, and the sights you see. 

Written by Samantha Bickman-

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