Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Turkey Hunting Basics

When I say basics, I mean BASICS – as in, I still have no idea what I’m doing. Opening weekend of turkey hunting was my first ever (very unsuccessful) turkey hunt. I have already established that I’m not so great at duck hunting, and I’m even worse at deer hunting, so I got excited and thought that turkey hunting would be my niche. I was wrong. I am even WORSE at turkey hunting!

I woke up bright and early, put on my really attractive hunting outfit, put my cell phone on silent (I don’t go ANYWHERE without my cell phone - you never know when a coyote might try to attack and you’ll have to call the nearest family member or hunter to come rescue you… I know this from past experience), then I grabbed my dad’s 12 gauge and headed out the door.

The blind, my dad's Remington 11-87 Sportsman, and me.

The first rule of thumb when you enter the woods is to stop and look up into the trees. Apparently, that’s where the turkey’s roost. My uncle Tom overlooked this tidbit of advice a couple of years ago and walked straight under a huge Tom (a Tom is a grown, male turkey, for those of you who are as hunting-impaired as I am… not to be confused with my Uncle Tom, who has the same name, but is, in fact, NOT a turkey). The Tom Turkey saw my Uncle Tom, had a good laugh, and then took off. We were sure not to have the same thing happen to us. So we looked around, and no roosting turkeys were to be seen. Off we ventured into the dark woods. My dad would stop every so often to use his box call. We would wait patiently for a turkey to reply, but nothing. This went on for about an hour.

With no luck, we moved to the blind my dad had set up. This is where my dad instructed me how to set up a turkey decoy. My only rule of advice is: do NOT follow my dad’s rules of advice. As you can see in the photo above, he is one of those men who doesn’t get bored while he hunts. This, according to my theory, is the reason that no turkeys were around that day. They were too busy laughing from afar. I did get to try out the box call for the first time. They are very easy to use, you just have to use the handle and rub it against the box and it makes a turkey sound. Maybe one day I will advance to using a mouth call, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

No luck in the blind. We got up, walked to a different area where we were “sure to see a lot of turkeys”. I sat behind a tree with my gun loaded and ready for about an hour, and once again, NOTHING. The only thing that made me feel better was that my Uncle Scott, who was nearby, also saw nothing. My dad must have sent them laughing halfway to Pennsylvania. We packed it up, went home, and had a nice delicious breakfast (my favorite part of hunting is the free breakfast I get from my dad afterwards).

The next day, to my dismay, my Uncle Scott went back out and shot a huge Tom right down the road from our spot the previous day. My Uncle Chuckie and his cousin Bob each killed a Tom too. So I guess I learned my lesson – I’m a good hunter… my dad’s not. :)

Bob Karker and Chuck Trump with their spring '08 kills

My neighbor, Suede, with the turkey he killed during last year's youth hunt. (Talk about rubbing salt in the wound)

No comments: