As sportsmen, we spend countless hours in the field scouting in preparation for the season ahead. We study wildlife from afar patterning their moves and formulating our plan of attack at the chance to take them when the appropriate time comes. The blood, sweat and tears that go into our planning all seem worthwhile when the hunt comes to fruition. We are sportsmen, and we live for that moment.
Spring in North Carolina means one thing to me, and that is TURKEY SEASON! Every March, I spend the better part of my mornings and afternoons watching birds as they move in their natural habitat. Nothing gets my blood pumping like the site of multiple longbeards competing for the attention of the hen turkeys that inhabit their kingdom. As these beautiful creatures puff their chest out, strutting with their fans spread wide; I cannot help but feel a sense of gratitude to my creator for the opportunity to witness such a breathtaking view. Day after day, I learn about these birds in anticipation of the opportunity to harvest one that may come within reach when the season arrives.
This year was no exception. I had several birds eyed on a few farms, and had a pretty good outlook on what I needed to do to harvest a bird. I was unable to hit the woods opening Saturday, so I knew that Monday was my first shot. That morning, I woke up like a child on Christmas morning. As I made the half hour drive to the farm, I played the scenarios over and over in my head. I stepped out of the truck as the morning breeze hit my face, and made my way to the spot that I had carefully picked in the days before. As I got settled into my spot, the birds began to talk. With each gobble, the hair on my neck stood tall. My heart began to race as I could count at least 4 different birds within my vicinity. As the sun began to peak the tree’s, I waited patiently for Mr. Tom to make his appearance.
Suddenly, I caught a glimpse of the first bird as he soared from the roost and flew down into the field I was watching over. Motionless, I carefully watched every step that he took. With my attention on him, I failed to notice that another bird had already graced me with his presence, and was making his way to my decoys. As the birds movement caught my eye, and I immediately began to focus on the task ahead of me. Camera rolling, I eased my gun up to my cheek. What seemed like eternity, happened in less than 1 minute. This large tom didn’t stand a chance as he approached my Primos strutter decoy with his fan spread wide. After a brief standoff, I decided to make my move. I eased my safety off and took a deep breath. As I pulled the trigger, the bird hit the dirt. The smell of gunpowder never smelt so good! My heart was pounding out of my chest just like it was my first bird. In less than an hour, all of my hard work had become a reality. My first tag of the 2015 season had been filled, and I gave thanks to the Lord right there for the experience that he had just granted me. This is what we as sportsmen come to love and appreciate. It does not always come together like this, but when it does it gives us a sense of pride and accomplishment.
This bird was not my biggest to date, but will certainly never be forgotten. His beard measured 10.5", and his spurs told the story of his last days. With one spur measuring 1", the other was broken off in a sharp and violent manner. It was evident that this bird had been fighting for his place in the dominion of birds on that particular farm. Experiences like this are what keep me coming back hunt after hunt and year after year. It is in in my blood, and I am encouraged through my experiences to share the passion that has been developed within me.
Stay tuned for the story of my next hunt, which involves a bow, a monster tom, and a not so similar outcome!
Until then, get out there Sportsmen! Take a look at the Sportsman's Box subscription plans that enable you to receive monthly deliveries of hunting and fishing gear related to each season ahead that will aid your next pursuit!