If someone asked me what my favorite things in the world are, I would answer
1.) Turkey Hunting
2.) Morel Mushroom Hunting
4.) The Northwoods
5.) Tubing (behind a boat)
I don’t really know what my point was in sharing all that, but did you notice what number one is? TURKEY HUNTING!
I opted for the gun this season. And although it cut me down from an entire month, to just a week, I figured my odds of getting a bird was better. You see, I just started archery hunting this past fall (for deer). Every time a deer would come within range, I would forget how to raise a bow, how to draw back, how to aim. It was really unsettling.
With a gun, I don’t even think.
So, I chose to go with what I’m comfortable with until I put in a lot more time of archery practice (until it too is natural).
Every morning we got up at 3:45 in order to get on the land (and in the blind) a half hour before sunrise (which was 5:30). It was tiring. Especially since sunset was after 8:00, and I need more than seven hours of sleep to feel like I can walk through the woods without crunching.
Or pick up a box call without squeaking.
Or sneak through the woods to go to the bathroom without spooking a tom…whoops.
The mornings were beautiful though. I will always prefer a sunrise to a sunset.
The whippoorwill were whipping, the barred owls were asking for breakfast (who cooks for you?), and the spring peepers were peeping (ridiculously loud).
I was too cold, too hot, and sometime just right–but suddenly too sleepy. I hunted alone, I hunted with the pops, and I took enough photos of myself in the blind to be embarrassed (but apparently not embarrassed enough to point out).
I heard some coyotes (saw one of their kills), a red fox messed up one of my dad’s opportunities–chasing away an oncoming bird–and I heard a lot of gobbles the first day…but not so many the rest. The birds were pairing up, and the hens were laying eggs. Which meant the toms weren’t going too crazy. I suppose I could regret not taking one of the two jakes I saw the first day–but I don’t.
Because really, there is no such thing as an unsuccessful turkey hunt.
The woods are coming alive. Even if you aren’t seeing anything, or if you’re falling asleep too much, or if you’re not making a move when you need to–or making a move when you shouldn’t–you’re figuring something out.
And even if you berate, fixate, and/or curse at yourself or your thoughts, you have enough time to double back (maybe after a short nap), and you can forgive and figure out–grow, just like the plants around you.
If it wasn’t for turkey hunting, I’d probably still have a natural resource major (versus my changed english), be dating any knucklehead who came my way, give up on friends, and be unmanageably mourning for those who are lost.
*In memory of Jenny Cobb 5/3/11 ❤