Well fellas, I finally did it. I bagged my first turkey, but thatís not what makes this turkey season epic. What makes it epic is my dad was there to share the moment with me. This will be a very long read. Microsoft Word tells me itís over 1500 words so if you donít care to read it all the pictures are at the bottom. Now as Paul Harvey would say itís time for the rest of the story.
You see Iíve recently taken a new job and moved about 6 hours away from home. My dadís health for the past few years hasnít been that great, heís not getting around like he used to but he still has the same passion for the outdoors that he instilled in me at a very young age. I remember stories of him bringing me hunting while I was still in diapers. (Momma wasnít happy about that, from what I hear). I remember the trips to the deer lease, listening to Johnny Horton and Hank Williams Sr. but this story tops them all, except for maybe my first deer.
Iíve never been a turkey hunter. I canít say Iíve ever really had the desire to turkey hunt, but I also didnít live were there were more turkeys then people. So anyway, dad calls me up and says he wants us to go turkey hunting here. I say ok sure. Wasnít exactly optimistic that we would see a turkey but I was excited to spend some time with my old man anyway. So, the long-anticipated day arrives, we wake up early and start to get dressed when we start to hear this god-awful howling outside. We realized pretty quick the winds were steady at almost 20 mph with gusts of wind reaching 30-35 mph, temps in the low 40ís. Dad looked at me and said,Ē We might as well go back to bed, ainít no turkey gonna hear us todayĒ. I would like to say I put up a fight but hey my warm bed sure sounded good.
We got out about noon and decided to check the game cameras and work my dog, Delta, for a bit on his retrieving, out at the lease. Decided last minute to put Dads shotgun in the truck so we could pattern it and make sure it was ready to go. Get to the lease, pulled the cards, get to the last stand and Dad decides to start playing with one of his new turkey calls while Iím checking everything. Iím standing on the platform of my stand when I thought I heard a very faint gobbleÖ. tried to shake it off like naw it couldnít have beenÖ. just wasnít quite convinced. We got back in the truck and I rolled the windows down to listen and started driving off. Weíre headed to a pond on the property to work Delta and I heard it. A gobble. No doubt in my mind. I heard a gobble. I slammed on the brakes and looked at Dad, ďDid you hear that,Ē I said. Dad looks at me like Iím a madman,Ē Hear whatĒ. ďThat gobble, I canít tell were its coming from but I know I heard it.Ē We waited and listened. And listened. And listened. At this point, I canít help but wonder am I going crazy? I started to ease off and made it about ten feet before we heard it again. This time plain as day! I pulled the truck off the road and we got out. Dad made a call and got a gobble in response. We knew the turkey was getting closer. I got the shotgun then realized I had a problem. Neither of us had a stitch of camo on. Not even my lucky camo underwear. Thankfully I had some camo burlap in the bed of my truck, I grabbed a piece and quickly headed off into the creek bottom to find a spot.
Dads calling from about thirty yards behind me. I finally found a tree big enough to conceal me and covered up underneath that burlap, like a kid pretending to be asleep on Christmas Eve. Hearts racing, adrenalineís pumping, Iím straining my eyes trying to see this bird. It sounds like a bomb going off every time he gobbles. He going to walk out into the opening any minute. Suddenly, I heard something that made my heart stop and my blood run cold.
My phone! Amber Alert is going off and my phones not on silent! Instant Panic! I drop dads gun and Iím franticly trying to dig my phone out of my pocket and shut it offÖ after what felt like an eternity I finally got it out and turned on silent. I covered back up and listenedÖ. silenceÖ. did he hear it, I wonder, I did he see me?
Suddenly, the woods explode with a thunderous gobble, and I see this Tom crossing a small meadow, working his way towards me. He enters the wood line and crosses right into the one opening I needed him to. BAM! Just like that my first turkey is flopping on the ground. I let out a good ole rebel yell and crossed that opening and jumped the creek faster than a running back at the NFL combine. Wouldnít have made the Cowboys but I think the Cleveland Browns wouldíve been interested, at that point. He ended up with a 9-inch beard and 1 Ĺ spurs and about 18 pounds or so. He wasnít a world record but a trophy for me none the less. I couldnít have been happier in that moment and to see the pride in my old manís eyes made it that much better.
FAST FORWARD A WEEK.
After not seeing any more turkeys on the last trip, Dad decides to come back down for a couple of days and try again. We knew we had two toms on camera and we were going to try to do our best to get on one of them. We set up a stand where we knew they were passing though on a day to day basis and waited. And waited. And called. And waited. And called some more. It was so dead that morning we didnít even hear a heifer moo and weíre hunting on a cattle ranch. Decided to break for lunch then back at the ranch by two, doubled up on the four-wheeler, driving around stopping and calling, trying to get mobile and hopefully locate a bird for dad. Instead we find a hog, which Iím ashamed to say I missed. Hey, it happens sometimes nobodyís perfect.
We decided on a game plan for the evening hunt. I was going to hunt for hogs in a stand close to where we hoped they were roosting and he was going to hunt a stand where we had seen them before. I take my bow this trip and climb into my tripod, and sent him a text to let him know I was safe and set up. He texts back that his phone is going to die before our agreed time to leave and not to worry if I canít get ahold of him. So, the hunt begins. Itís just about prime time for a hog just before dark 7:30ish. Of course, Iíve just about given up on hearing a turkey but Iím still listening, kinda. Ok maybe I was just playing on my phone because the hogs donít show up until 8:30, oh well it happens. So, Iím playing angry birds and I heard a boom coming from dadís direction. I knew he had a rifle and a shotgun with him. I thought to myself that sure sounded like a shotgunÖ. tried calling him straight to voicemailÖ. phones deadÖ. crapÖnow I have a moral dilemma. Do I continue hunting? Or do I call it and go see what he got? (I knew I was going to find something on the ground over there, I just didnít know what)
Well if curiosity killed the cat Iíd be a dead cat. I couldnít stand it so I climbed down and headed over there. I topped the hill and wouldnít you know, Heís done got TWO toms with ONE shot! Yes, you read that right. I wish he was writing this part but I will try to tell the story the best I can.
He said his phone had died about an hour before hand and he was just about to get out of the stand and pull the decoy because he figured with it being so late, the birds would have already gone to roost. He said he looked out the window and the toms were just there, no gobbles no nothing, they didnít make a peep he said. He put the shotgun out the window as one of the toms turned to leave. He said it almost looked like they were kissing when he pulled the trigger. Both his bird had about 9 inch beards and 1 inch spurs. Incredible hunt by any man's standard.
I canít describe how this experience has affected me but I know Iíll be a turkey hunter for life now. And Iíll always have an amazing story to tell. Thanks for letting me share!