Zen and The Art of Turkey Hunting

I don’t know how I ever got the bug to want to shoot a turkey, imi9bet or whether it was ever of any importance. I mean, l like eating turkey well enough, you know, at Thanksgiving and Christmas and once in a while in between. But I never had an inkling of a thought that I could ever get such a bird even if I had wanted to. It’s the why that still has me wondering.

I thought it was some exotic form of hunting left to extreme, joker681 crusty old hunters and members of elite hunting clubs well stocked with the appropriate game that are let out of their pens right before shooting time. But this was the year that I decided to reenter the hunting experience. Ducks were the first birds on my list, and when I saw that the season would be ending soon I realized I needed something else to pursue in the wild, joker78 but what?

The quail hunting in Florida is mythical at best or so it seems. I spent a day hunting a quail enhancement area in a wildlife management property and ended up unknowingly hunting snipe. I couldn’t hit one of those either. Contrary to popular belief it doesn’t involve a gunny sack and a flashlight. pggame365

There’s always dove hunting. It’s supposed to be the most hunted bird in the US, which I found hard to believe because even though I used to hunt dove with my deadly Benjamin Pump BB gun as a kid, I never realized there could be large enough numbers in Florida to make it worth the effort. The harvest numbers of birds per hunter is 1.3 or something like that. I think I could do better with my BB gun around town. I think the season was closed, 168galaxy anyway.

But, turkey, now there’s a bird I’ve seen around on my scouting and camping trips, but always on the run out of range, mostly viewed from the front seat of my truck as they peck at the grass along the roadside. Was it even possible to get close enough to bag such a thing with a shot gun that has about 40 to 50 yard effective range? The challenge was intriguing. I started researching online, getting the lowdown on the feat required to fulfill this quest.

They say that if a turkey could smell as good as it can see, gcwin99 no one would ever shoot one. That means they can see really well. No nearsightedness tendencies with this bird.

The first thing you need to be is “unseen”. That means camouflaged for the untrained. You have to be invisible to this bird that has binocular, 270 degree vision, and can see your pot bellied silhouette a half a mile away. Ok, it would spot you even if you had spent several months pumping iron and riding the stationary bike in the gym. I needed the kind of camouflage that would make the invisible man envious. Yes, there’s a certain voyeuristic element involved with this, to observe without being seen. What color down are you wearing?

This brings up all kinds of possibilities. There’s camouflage for woodlands, camouflage for marshy areas, grassy areas, semi grassy, semi woodland, fall, spring and winter camouflage patterns, three d patterns, Marpat and Cadpat. There’s a whole science behind it. The military takes this stuff very seriously.

Next, you have to remain absolutely, completely still because motion is the first thing a turkey can pick up, which means it can catch you picking your nose at three hundred yards. Have you ever tried to remain completely still for hours on end? To sit, just knowing that that one slight facial rub just scared away the only gobbler you were going to get a chance to shoot this year. I mean, Christ! What were you thinking! hp888

I anticipated this predicament well in advance and bought one of those folding camouflaged blinds with a woodland pattern that set up by pulling on the top ring in the center of a small bundle and, presto, an instant four man blind complete with top materializes. There was only one small problem with the first tent blind I had purchased. It didn’t want to dematerialize back into the tidy bundle from whence it came.

The directions were useless, the pictures too vague. By pressing back in on each side pole like this, the tent should collapse like that and oh shit, nothing. I studied this situation carefully. I pressed this way and that, again, nothing. I took a deep breath and after fifteen minutes of monkey wrenching, had it collapsed partially with two sides sticking out in either direction, more like a large umbrella blown inside out. This was ridiculous! I was taking this piece of crap back to the store. But it wouldn’t fit through the front door of my house. I had somehow turned it inside out, and after deftly folding up one of the sides heard an uncharacteristic crack, like the sound of a fishing pole breaking in half. Odd, I didn’t remember reading anything about any cracking noises in the directions. But I was on to something.

One more cracking maneuver and I was able to slip it out the front door and fit it back under the tonneau top of my pickup for safe delivery back to Dick’s sporting goods. In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities. I decided to experiment with a different brand of camouflage blind. This one turned out to be much sturdier and more idiot proof. I was able to open it up and collapse it back into its carrying case several times as long as the tape I wrapped marking the top handle stayed secured so I would know where the top was and which side to pull on, and not open it upside down again. But could I do this in the dark? It was crucial that this worked.

You see by being inside of a tent blind, you could move around, get a bite to eat or drink, check your stock portfolio or Facebook account on your electronics, whatever. Also I would be bringing my 15 year old son I’ll call ” X-man” because he made me promise never to use his real name in any of my stories, and I know he can’t sit still from our experiences in the duck blind. But I digress.

So now that we had attained manufactured invisibility, we needed something to bring that gobbling fool within striking distance of my vintage 12 gauge, over and under. It’s twice as old as my son, but still shoots wonderfully. What we have to do with this spring love turkey is sweet talk it with one of the many types of calls available. X-man elected to try the mouth diaphragm calls which he practiced exuberantly all 45 minutes back from the sporting goods store. It was like Donald Duck on steroids and helium.

I decided on something simpler, called a pot call which is a small round disk of slate where you take this hardwood stick about the diameter of a pencil and like fingernails on a blackboard make the familiar sounds of a sex starved hen turkey looking for some action. It takes a while to go from a screeching noise to that familiar yelp of a female turkey. Let’s see, there’s the yelp, the cluck, the cutting call, the purr and the assembly call that make up the main repertoire of their vocabulary. Yes I know there’s something called the fly down cackle, the tree call, kee kee, and basic gobble gobble but let’s keep it simple stupid.

Next and newest in the turkey hunter’s arsenal are decoys. No kidding. There are only about a zillion different types and brands out there. Trust me, I spent hours researching for just the right one that didn’t require selling a kidney to acquire. They make them with real feathers, moving heads, flapping wings, fanning tails, foam, plastic, rubber, strut, turn, wiggle and everything in between. I finally settled on a trio of a rubber foam type that roll up for easy storage and unroll and assume their natural position when you take them out and fluff them up a little. They sit on little plastic poles that hold them on the ground, two hens and a jake which is an immature male that make the toms mad as hell for hanging around the hens. This of course causes the tom to run into the decoys in a death like charge to claim his territory. It’s what the decoy add claimed anyway, and they even had a video to back it up.

On a good day my decoys will tell me which way the wind is blowing because they pivot in a natural way on their perch with the breeze. But I don’t think they’re supposed to spin around and around when the wind really picks up.

Now once you have acquired all of the basic equipment, all you need to do is find out where these wily birds hang out. Once again, researching the online oracle provided me with everything I needed to know.

Turkeys like to live near water. Turkeys like to sleep high up in big trees with big branches over water. In the early morning they will fly down from their perch to begin their busy day, foraging for seeds and insects. Turkeys like some open ground next to a thick forest to strut their stuff. In spring, the tom turkeys are on the prowl rounding up their multiple mates.

You find out where all this is taking place at, set up your gear and your turkey practically stuffs itself.

That last thought brought a thin smile inside my Sniper Ghillie suit as I sat in my camouflaged beach chair in the palmettos. I had evolved way beyond the tent blind thing. X-man had already said to hell with this turkey hunting sit in a blind for four hours being quiet thing. He lasted longer than I had thought on our first couple of hunts in the Ocala National Forest where we received a couple of gobbles of inquiry but no takers.

Half the challenge is scouting the areas for these turkeys. We drove down roads that should have been marked four wheel drive, finding squatters’ vehicles and sleeping accommodations in the middle of nowhere. “boy, ya got a purdy mouth.” I could almost hear it as we drove out of there, making frequent stops with me walking into the woods to scout for signs while X-man and his buddy we brought with us I’ll call “The Joker”, sat in the truck and listened to their rap music. All I had to do was hike a couple hundred yards, look for tracks and poop, yes poop. Did you know that their poop can reveal information about these fowl? If it’s long and curls slightly at the end it’s likely a tom, if its clumpy like popcorn it’s liable to be a hen. The poop I found the most of was big, cylindrical and full of berries, which according to my poop dictionary belonged to a species of black bear.


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