Turkey hunting on ice
I'm at that stage in the spring gobbler season where I really don't know if I'm going to hunt on any given morning until I either awake at 4 a.m. or don't. Unless I have a bird roosted from the night before, it's anyone's guess – including Paula's – as to whether I'll be out there.
Being a hockey fan plays a factor as well. Last night, for instance, the Penguins and Senators battled into a second overtime, a game that ended well after 11 p.m. and pretty much decided for me I wouldn't hunt this morning – at least not early this morning. It's fairly common that I'll jump out at mid-morning and troll for a lonely tom, and that has worked successfully many times over the years. You really feel like a thief when you sleep in AND kill a longbeard.
This morning, the game plan was to do just that. Then I got an email from the local fish and game club advising that trout will be stocked this morning at 10 a.m. and they could use some volunteers to assist. So I'll make the post office run and head downtown to meet the truck, which at this point I don't even know if it's the DEC hatchery fish or those reared by our own county hatchery. Doesn't really matter; the buckets pretty much weigh the same when you're lugging them to the stream.
In fact, I don't even know what streams they're stocking today. I'll just follow the truck and pitch it for about an hour, and hope I don't see a strutting tom in a field while I'm stocking fish. That has happened over the years; it seems at least once each spring I hear a thunderous gobble from a nearby ridge while I'm standing in the middle of a trout stream with a fly rod in my hand. It used to bother me. Now I just laugh and keep fishing.
The worst-case scenario, for me, is to awaken at about 6 a.m. and see that it's a perfect morning and I should be out there hunting. But you can't have it both ways when you're following the NHL playoffs, especially when a game goes into overtime.
I plan I getting out several more times before the season ends, but don't ask me what days I'll be hunting. That depends on a lot of things – whether Paula wants to go, the weather, my work schedule and if the hockey game goes into overtime.