What a day!
Well, after working my usual 70 hour tour I know I can get Saturday off to try getting a Turkey. I got one nice Tom on my opening week permit (story of the 4/25/11 posted elsewhere on the forum). *I have the Saturday's only permit. Saturday's so far were a bust, 'Dead Woods' (as posted elsewhere on the forum). The tours I pull can get tiring but I was determined to get up this Saturday and early.
So, with only 5 hours sleep the alarm goes off at 0230 HRS. Good intentions but I hit the 10 minute snooze button. 10 minutes pass fast and when the alarm goes off again my finger starts heading the for snooze button. However, my other part of the brain said "NO" get up and get out early. Perhaps the woods were dead as you got in too late and they may have moved off unbeknown to this writer I said to myself.
Get dressed, load the truck ,grab a fast bite and up and out the door drive to my property. I get there and walk into the woods at 0400 HRS. Half way through as I traverse the property, I am scanning the area with my SureFire flashlight. Sure enough, the beam falls on a pair of eyes looking at me. Yep, my property is loaded with bears and I can see the faint outline of the bear's body with those eyes shining back at me. I pick up the pace and angle a bit left away from the bear as it watches me pass at about 100 yards.
I get to my spot on my land about 1/2 mile in. I place my Primos Gunthunter's Blind, Double Bull Chair, Mossberg Shot gun, Tat'r Vest carefully on the ground. I take my three hen decoys and one Jake Fan and set it up about 20 yards away from where I will set up my blind. As I walk down to the place to set up my decoys and my foot catches a stump or rot or something and down I go. My keen hits a rock and the PAIN was great. I lay there for a moment thinking I might have broken my knee as I though how hard it is going to be to crawl out to my truck. I lay there in pain and slowly start to recover. No blod, nothing broken but my knee is HOT. OK, not too bad you have been in worse situations on the job *I told myself. Get up and get on with the hunt I said to my self.
The decoys are set, I placed two of three on the ground and one on stake with the Jake fan behind the set up.
Back, slowly, to my blind and I get everything set up. Man, it was great to be in a nice chair to let me knee rest!
I checked my GPS and it said best times today were from 9am-11am. OK, so it is a bit later than I would have liked but at least I am set up well before sunrise. The place looks beautiful as the night looses to daylight. Woods are quiet. I hit the Primos Battleship paddle call and Cody Drop Dead slate call sparingly. Nothing.
At 0800HRS something way to my left catches my attention. With the lay of the land whatever it was dropped into a little dip but I hold my focus. There! Movement, maybe it is a Tom! A few moments later it comes into view. A Mother bear with her cub on a dead walk towards my blind. I had been running my Thermacell since dawn. As the bears were 15 yards from my blind the mother stops. She reaches down and picks up the cub with her mouth and urges it to do a 180 degree turn from my blind. Off they go. *The woods return to the undisturbed state.
I call very, very infrequently and then stop altogether. I am just enjoying the woods and a nice day. At 1030HRS I am thinking if I should leave or not and decide to pick up my calls. I call, nothing. Ten minutes later, I hit the call once more. I get a Gobble! Hit the call again and another gobble! The calls were binding me not in front as I had expected them to come! I then realize I can open the back of the blind. I turn my chair around. I unzip the back of the blind slightly, peek out and there he is, a TOM with Red Wattles! Can I unzip it enough to get a bead on him. Carefully, slowly I made the attempt. I get the blind open as much as I cared too. I hoped when I slipped out the barrel he would not spook. I get a bead on hi, pull the trigger. BOOM! The Hevi Shot 3 1/2" Hevi 13 sure sounded louder in that blind! I can see the Tom do a back flip and flop down. I flip the blind over and run to my trophy! He went nowhere after being hit just like every other Tom I have taken with my Mossberg! I feel fortunate! 1050HRS and the deal is sealed!
I have never gotten more than one bird in spring season, ever. 2011 was now the exception. It was not a big Tom, just a Jake, 16 pounds 4 1/2 beard and stubby hooks but I was happy! All those season I hunted after getting my first (and only) bird but now to have gotten two in the same season. Each hunt is a priceless memory!
Thanks for reading through my narrative. 12 hours later, I am still pumped!!! Tonight I will put an ACE banadge on my knee. I have been using an Ice Pack too!
(click on photo)
Remember the 343
George Johnson, Ladder 157
Dan McWilliams, Ladder 157
Bily Eisengrien, Rescue 2Scott Strauss NYPD ESU