Now at the beginning of our turkey hunt we’re into the third day and I’ve yet to even see a tom, I did hear 2 and fooled a hen for just a moment until she busted me. I’m also tired and my butt hurts from sitting long hours on a cold wet ground. So thus far you might take this as a whining complaint but the reality of it is that my hunt has been absolutely “fabulous!”
Hunting partners include a very good friend, Bob St.Pierre and my 22 year old son, Chad. Prior to the season I’d scouted a couple days locating a few birds. Bob and I hiked another nearby WMA the day before finding lots of sign and a few birds too. After Fan Outdoors we headed out. Bob chose the WMA with Chad going off in the direction of the Friday morning birds. I picked a location on the opposite end of the same wooded WMA. Thursday the snow had been knee deep in the woods and even deeper on the edge. On this day the weather gods had finally smiled with a forecast high of 70 and sunny skies. Huffing ‘n puffing I arrived at the field edge overlooking a ravine also delighted to find exposed oak leaves on the south facing forest floor. Thinking I’d sit ‘n listen a while hoping for a tell-tale gobble but all was quiet except for pairs of raucous honkers, gurgling of sandhills picking waste corn in a nearby field often accompanied by squeeking sounds that had me thinking turkey but only hen woodies winding through the leafless trees. Crows glided overhead “caw caw cawing” to each other in a language only they seem to understand. Wearing Elim-Tick camo from head to toe I imagined myself mostly invisible almost like looking into a snow globe as a kid pretending to be an outside observer. But this was not the case at all. In reality I had become a silent observer inside mother nature’s world. While alone and mostly detached from the electronic world it’s easy for thoughts to wander. Mine went back in time wondering how much this wild world has changed since my youth. Gosh as a kid even the thought of hunting turkeys here much less anywhere in Minnesota was never believed possible much less that this land I
was sitting on would be open to public hunting. Sandhill Cranes had never been seen in central Minnesota in fact the first time hearing one near Chisago as a young teacher I imagined some prehistoric creature emerging from nearby brush with those strange sounds. Today these leggy, noisy birds are common. Even the honking geese with the musical
accompaniment of drumming Ruffed Grouse was then a dinner table conversation
topic. Then occasional small fall flocks would be chased by cars hoping for even a chance shot at one. Dad had shot only a single honker in a lifetime of bird hunting while in many places these giant birds are now considered a nuisance or worse.
So here I sat watching and then a rather large fox squirrel caught my eye. He was hopping toward me as I sat motionless with 12 gauge across my lap. About 6 feet away he stopped sitting upright with paws folded like a dog doing a trick for a treat. I must have posed no threat in his eyes as he slowly hopped by only inches away. It was really cool! Then suddenly the silence was broken with a loud “Boom!” Startled from my own little world I flinched thinking that just could be Chad! Then a couple minutes later my phone buzzed and the text read “I got one!” Ecstatic I replied “Yahoo! I”ll meet you back at the truck!” When I got back he was sitting on the tailgate with the huge tom lying in the back. With high-fives he told me the whole story second by second as it happened wearing a huge smile the whole time. He also said “this is cool usually it’s you telling me the story ‘n now it’s me!” The bird sported a 10” beard and gobbled at him for most of an hour before giving him a shot coming out of the full strut – his last!
So now maybe you can better understand why my turkey hunt this year is the absolute best that it can be. I have selfishly had the opportunity to see my son have the success he
worked for and earned. I’ve also been able to see the successful pride in his eyes and in the grand life’s scheme better that I didn’t get one because this is as it should and was meant to be at least in my eyes and in my world as a parent! But don’t feel too bad for me I’m still huntin’! But it matters not if I score a bird becausemy hunt is already a huge success and one I will remember as long as I’m here!