Cold Damp Morning - Missouri

As I sat in the cold damp morning, I told my husband I was done. I have hunted for 4 years now and I haven’t seen a turkey in all that time. This is not for me I quit, that was in 2006. Ever since then Steve, my husband, and Robert my son, have been trying to get me to try it one more time, but I would have nothing to do with it. Finally, for some goofy reason, I told them I would give them one more shot. As the season got closer I kept asking myself, “Why did I tell them I would do it again, I probably wont even see a turkey." I practiced with my 20 gauge for a few weeks before the season began and was very good at shooting soda cans.

The night before Missouri’s turkey season began, I told the guys I was soooo excited that I probably wouldn’t even sleep, but the truth is, I really wasn’t happy about getting up so early and walking in the dark for another season of not seeing any turkeys. As daylight broke, I have to say it was a beautiful morning. Robert was behind me with his video camera. For some reason he brought his shotgun. I didn’t understand why because I was supposed to be the shooter. I wasn’t worried about the camera since the only way me and my messed up hair would be on film was if I shot a turkey and I didn’t think that was going to happen.

Around 7 a.m. a hen came in and walked around for about 45 minutes. When she left, I finally could move again. I asked Steve, “Do you really like this stuff?” He said “yes” and he said I would like it too if I saw a big old tom. I said, “Yeah, like that will ever happen.” A little later the hen came back again. I watched her clean her feathers but she didn’t stay very long this time. We still had heard no gobbling which was not unusual for me because I never heard gobbling. Around 8:25 a.m., I asked how long did I have to stay out because I needed to get to work. They said that I should give it until 9:00. About 5 minutes later the guys thought they heard a gobble a long way off. After they argued awhile as to which side of the ridge the turkey was on, Robert decided to call and the turkey answered from a long way off. After he called again, the turkey gobbled and Steve told me to get my gun up. Robert asked, “Do you see him?” but I still couldn’t see the turkey. A few seconds later I could see the turkey coming through the woods.

Finally after years of never seeing a turkey, here came a big tom with his tail feathers all fanned out coming my way. Steve said he was still too far away to shoot. All I kept thinking was, I will never be able to shoot this bird because I was shaking too much. Steve whispered, “You have to breathe.” He said later that he could see my gun barrel shaking. As my turkey came towards me, I saw the second, third, fourth, and fifth one coming in like a big parade with their fans all spread out. The closest gobbler was about 20 yards from me. I heard Steve say, “Smoke him” and Robert said, “Kill him, Mom.” I shot and my turkey fell and the other three ran over and started jumping and pecking on him. I heard Robert loading his gun and it jammed. I heard him say a few choice words, then he got his gun loaded and he shot. A second gobbler fell down. He looked at me and smiled. “Mom, we just doubled up.” After all the cold damp mornings over the years of not seeing anything, they were both excited for me and told me that I had earned this one. I was still shaking 5 minutes later. We went over to our turkeys and all I could think of was the adrenalin rush I had. We will see about next year but I still have one more tag for this year. I want to thank my guys for this not being just another cold, damp morning.

Hunter: Joanne North

Cameraman: Rober North