Today was a good day.
There is an Ice Cube song called “It was a good day” and although the lyrics vary widely from this blogpost the feeling is the same. That everything went right.
I was up at 4:30 this morning, had coffee, caught up with my computer stuff and then went for a hunt. I’ve never hunted for a thing until this week so it is all new. I have been practicing like a madman though.
It is turkey season and so on my commute to work and back I talk turkey. There are many turkey talking devices out there and like many I jumped right into a mouth call as it frees your hands. I’ve put hours and hours into this call and all I can say is you either have to be gifted or southern because these calls take a lot, a lot of time to get. I happily switched gears to a slate call and found myself yelping and driving in no time. It’s a good thing I commute early in the morning as I’m usually steering with one knee while clucking along to a turkey CD.
I’ve also put a lot of practice time with my compound bow, making 40 yards my standard practice distance, which makes shooting smaller distances somehow feel easier.
My commute to the hunting grounds was just a walk out of my door and into the darkness about 150 yards where I had a ground blind setup in the woods, one of the benefits of living in Maine. I had nothing fancy as I have not accumulated much gear; I had an old LL Bean canvas tote bag with calls, a bottle of water, gloves and not much else. I don’t have special clothes but I was careful to wear black as the inside of the blind is black and it makes one hard to see.
I set a hen decoy 8 yards from the blind and tucked myself in. It was a foggy Maine morning and as the sun came up the outlines of the woods softened by the fog. The next half hour or so were exceptional. I saw deer running through the fog, the crows were cawing, the world was waking up and I was really relishing being in nature. Just beautiful out, so special, I would guess that many hunters do this just to experience that.
I started calling using all my CD, YouTube knowledge. I began with just yelping (common turkey talk) every 20 minutes and after an hour I got a gobble back. I responded but didn’t call a lot which was my friend Steve’s advice and just let him find me. He stopped coming in at about 30 yards and I switched to cutting (excited hen language) with a small amount of yelping and although it was slow that brought him in.
I only had one large window in the blind open and had a small clearing dead ahead of me. This tom was coming in behind me and these guys are wicked stealthy when they want to be, I couldn’t see him but could hear his movements. I caught a glimpse of him as he came in to my window view through the wood underbrush towards the clearing, eventually coming in dead ahead of me at 18 yards ( I had measured the area) he was looking right at me, fluctuating between puffing up and looking skitterish. I didn’t realize it at the time but this was probably as good as it gets. My YouTube education would have had him in come closer yet and head for the decoy, but I should have caught on that he was a bit nervous and taken a chance and drawn the bow, so instead of staying he walked right out of my field of view. We then had a 4 hour conversation in turkey. At different distances and although I managed to bring him in again he was behind me where I didn’t have a shot. At 11:30 I gave it up, legal time ends at noon in Maine. I was exhausted not so much from talking turkey but from the adrenalin rush when he’d come in close and my heart was pounding and senses heightened, then back down and up and down again. I missed an opportunity but had a great hunt while gaining some experience and a great memory.
I came home still in time to make it to Dakota’s baseball game and then ice cream on the way home to celebrate the win, the sun was out after a drizzly week, making everyone happy to be outside in t-shirts for a change. Laurel found fiddleheads in some secret spot in the woods to sauté with dinner, a springtime treat, I sent some arrows into the target, read a book and later we watched Kung Fu Panda II with the kids, nothing dazzling just a good day.