I had a tag that was good for private land only for the month of May. It is the last hunt and usually pretty tough. I choose this just because of the amount of time I have to try and get the job done. Well I was looking forward to hunting with a "friend" but for some reason just before season came I was told we wouldn't be hunting at the "honey hole". So time to come up with my own plan. I knew there was a reason I don't like to have to rely on someone else.
Well what ya gonna do? Play the hand you are dealt is what I have heard recently. So that is what I did. I actually ended up talking to a great friend of mine and he invited me out to his place to hunt turkalito's. (another Chicoism meaning turkey) I jumped at the gracious offer and checked my schedule and knew that I only had one weekend where I would be able to do it. Plans were made and the excitement was building as the weekend approached.
Since I had gone back to school to finish my degree I was busy trying to get all the work done in advance to make sure I could just concentrate on my hunt. Things were going well right up until Thursday. That's when my sister decided she was having her baby. That meant my mom was on her way up from Tennessee and my schedule was about to change. So much for planning!
Thursday night came and with it came the invitation to have breakfast with my mom for the following morning. Well that meant I wouldn't be hunting in the AM as planned. No worries though as I don't get to see my mom much anymore. We had breakfast and I was thinking about the turkalito's for most of it. It didn't help that I received two text messages from Ron telling me about the turkey's strutting in front of where I was supposed to be set up! We went to my sister's to wait for her to come home with the baby, and we waited and waited and waited. Finally a phone call that said she wouldn't be home for a while and there was my opportunity to get out to hunt.
Off I go driving like a mad man back to the town where I live. I am making phone calls to try and get this set up. I called my good friend Ron to let him know I would be there in a while. Then talked to Art to let him know I was on my way and make sure he had all the camera gear ready to go. I make it home grab my vest do a quick run through of inventory and realize I didn't have my striker. Grab my gun and go to change choke tubes and well, it wont come out and I can't find the wrench to assist me in this. I grab my backup gun remove the choke tube out of it and install my turkey tube and on my way to the store. I ended up buying a new glass call since it was just easier and off I go.
I make it to Art's house and after listening to him give the business about how this hunt isn't going as planned, we were on our way. We started laughing about our big day turkey hunting and hitting the road at 1:30 PM. Who in their right mind starts turkey hunting in the mid afternoon with wind gusts of over 20 mph? We do I guess. I just went in with the mindset that it was the first time we were gonna see the property and it would be more or less a scouting trip for the next mornings hunt.
We arrived at our destination and after talking a bit we decided to hit the field where we were told the tom's had been strutting earlier. Off we went gear in tow out to the spot. We start setting up and Art goes to set up the pop up blind and well you guessed it another hurdle we needed to cross. The wind caught the blind as he was opening it and snapped a fiberglass rod! Oh yeah fun times. Well after a little redneck ingenuity we got it rigged up to work for a little bit at least.
Then came the next hurdle. The ground was really soft, the stakes were pulling out and the blind was blowing away. Well it just so happened there was a tree stump where we wanted to be so since the blind had no floor we decided to put the stump on the inside to help stop the blind as well as took the extra turkey stakes and drive them as far into the ground to hold it. That obstacle was out of our way.
I go out and set up the decoys and they are blowing all over. I finally get them in the ground far enough and at least the stakes aren't falling down. Back to the blind I go. I start handing Art the camera gear and bags. This is where another slight problem occurred. I forgot my stool! I was however thankful that I had my Quaker Boy Vestablind and the stump that was sitting inside the blind that I could lean against.
Ok so I grab my Dead Down Wind color wheel and start to apply my war paint and start laughing because nothing about this hunt is going right. Good times. We have been out here about 20 minutes at this point. Well I realize the zipper is open and I go to zip it up and well yeah you guessed it. It was broke! We take the screens from the windows and use them to cover up this huge opening all the way down the blind. Then I look out at the decoys and see the jake decoy staring straight up at the sky. No worries as Art says it just looks like he's trying to impress the hen by showing off his little beard. Oh, ok it works for me.
Well I break out the new call and off I go. We hear a couple behind us and start laughing because we say that they are just laughing and saying thanks for the comedy relief. I wait for five minutes and hear the clucks again. I go ahead and call. Then we hear some geese coming from behind and to our right that decide they want to tease me as they are cupped and float into our field out front and to our left at 50 yards. Grrrr I wish it was September 1st. I grab my call and am told to let it go and give it a bit. I looked at Art and explained that I don't think it much matters right now and start to cluck and purr. I watched the geese keep looking to my right but don't pay attention.
All of the sudden Art in a very loud voice says there he is at 12 o'clock!!!! I begin to scan the sky for more geese when he smacks me and says to your right! His twelve o'clock was my three o'clock which I later explained to him. I look to my right and I see a big brown thing with a bright red head. Oh what is wrong with this picture? Something is actually going right? Could this really be happening?
At the corner of the field where we were told by Ron that they come out of stood this turkey in full strut. The corner was 30 yards away from us. The only problem is he read the script but unfortunately wanted to do it in fast forward. He decided that he was tired of his girlfriend being with the other guy and was a bout to let him know about it. He did something that I have never witnessed while turkey hunting. He ran in full strut in a matter of ten seconds to the decoys. He was only slowed down a bit by a big gust of wind that looked like it was gonna blow him over. Well he made it to his girlfriend and started telling her how upset he was when all of a sudden he got a head ache! That's right Art called the shot and I did what he asked. The "Chico Layin' The Smack Down Tour 2010" had continued and it was lights out.
He was about 15 feet from the blind and I was in shock. Art and I laughed high fived and couldn't believe that we were only hunting for 20 minutes! It was the most incredible turkey hunt I have ever been a part of. After all the obstacles and mishaps this was just meant to be. We were happy and I was thankful to be blessed with the opportunity to be able to hunt Ron's property. It all worked out just not as originally planned.
The worst part was I almost didn't go out. I had actually questioned myself about not going and spending more time on homework and other things. I was so close to giving up my spring turkey hunt because of this. Fortunately for me, there was footage needed and that almost forced me to go out. I am thankful for that because there was a moment when it was all said and done, that I truly realized that this is my passion and I will always do this as long as the good Lord allows me to. There is nothing better than a great hunt with great friends and whether or not I got the bird I would of still loved to have told the story about the hunt that went all wrong.