What do you do when you shoot a turkey at 5:45 opening day?
I hunted turkey with my brother-in-law, Wes, last year, my first year.. He hunts in New Hampshire, just comes to Maine to assist. He had, unsuccessfully, assisted his mother in attempts for turkey for about five years. I had now been appointed his shooter. Last year we only heard a gobble going in the other direction. What a difference a year makes.
Wes spent a week hunting turkey in Kansas with his summer neighbor, Jay. He learned a lot.
This year we were much better prepared. We had permission to hunt three fields where turkeys were seen often in the morning. We scouted the area Sunday night at sundown. Although we never heard any sign of turkeys, we were confident that we were in the right area.
We returned around 4:30 on opening day. We set up at the top of the second field, up against a tree and rock wall. The decoys about 25 yards away at the top of the crest in the hill. About 5:00, a gobble. Then a couple more. Wes answers with his box call. They answer back. We determine there are four Toms.
They come down off the roost. We can hear two Toms going in the other direction. Wes stops calling. The others knew where we were. We wait. Hello, two hens and a Tom show up at the foot of the hill. They start up the hill to join up with our two decoys, the Tom in the lead. I slowly get my gun in shooting position. The Tom is in full plumage trying to impress this new hen. When he stretches his neck, it’s his last. Time of kill 5:45. First turkey in only the second year. I’m proud.
We head back out and meet the landowner at the truck. “What did you get?” We show him. We explain to him that we had planned on a two day hunt and now the wives would expect us to come home early. “You can get a second spring turkey permit”, he says. We’re sold.
I register the first bird and get a second permit through MOSES. We’re good to go for Tuesday. We thought it would be anti-climatic. We were wrong.