Meridian Star


May 9, 2014

Good news, bad news

MERIDIAN —     In The Old Man and the Boy, Robert Ruark summarizes turkey hunting saying, “I never trust a turkey. He’s smarter than you are most of the time.” I agree and am thankful for that minute space that exists between sometimes and most of the time. It is within this tiny geography that we are occasionally rewarded with the prize that has eluded us morning after morning. It is here that, for once, everything goes right. Those who have endured a season in the turkey woods understand. There are highs and lows and if success is gauged solely by harvesting a bird then, truth be told, there are more lows than highs. This past season, I spent time in that tiny hamlet both alone and in the company of family and friends.

    Last Spring I guided good friend Greg Monsour on his first turkey hunt. As often happens, Greg was rewarded with a gobbler on his first hunt.  It was an Outdoor Channel quality hunt without any needed editing;  gobbling, spitting and drumming, and strutting. As Greg soon learned however, turkey hunting is not always that easy. In fact, his 2013 season ended without another bird. As the 2014 season approached, Greg made plans to get a turkey for his son, Hays. Since I was going to be vacationing during the youth week opener, Greg asked how he should set up to get Hays in position for success. I gave Greg my decoys and a pop-up blind, discussed the game plan, and eagerly awaited news from him. On opening morning, Hays got to hear his first gobble and see his first tom.  Unfortunately, the tom that came into range was a juvenile, a jake, and although he was given the green light to take the bird, Hays had his sights set on the big tom he could hear in the distance.  Subsequent trips produced similar results until finally, on the morning of April 11, things went right.

    Greg and I had plans to hunt before work that Friday. Hays was not happy that we were going after “his turkey.”  Early that morning, Greg let me know we were taking Hays. I had a feeling that Hays would be our lucky charm.  Having called a turkey into range days earlier for Greg, I had full expectations that the turkey would come from our left.  As the day awakened, we listened intently for a gobble to come over our left shoulders; however, no sound came.  A few soft tree yelps from my Hunter’s Addiction mouth call were interrupted by a loud gobble in front of us. Within minutes, the monarch appeared 75 yards away at the end of the food plot.

    A few soft purrs on the mouth call and the bird broke into full strut, making his way in our direction.  Fortunately, I had positioned Hays and Greg behind a small ground blind to conceal the young hunter’s movements. As the turkey approached, I purred lightly and we were treated to another thunderous gobble.  When the gobbler stopped at eight yards, mesmerized by the Dave Smith Decoy in front of our blind, I had Greg release the safety on Hay’s shotgun and hand him the gun. The turkey began to suspect that all was not as it seemed and as I sought to calm him with a few light purrs and clucks, Hays sealed the deal with a load of HEVI-Shot and the celebrations began.

    As I gave the young hunter a congratulatory hug, I told him there was good news and bad news.  Looking at my watch and noting the time at 6:27, I said, “Hays the good news is you just got your first gobbler. The bad news is you did it so early you will make it to school on time.” As we pulled into the car pool line at Lamar School, our greeter noticed our camo and said that her husband was hunting that morning as well. Hays pointed to the back of the truck and smiled. I’m sure he smiled all day.

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