The 25-minute turkey hunt
A buddy and I were discussing how we have been quite efficient in our outdoor excursions of late.
It’s rare when we can spend the entire day outside foraging or chasing fish and game. It seems like we’re always trying to squeeze in a few hours around work and other obligations. It’s nice to be able to go to camp for a few days or a week or more with nothing to distract us from our outdoor pursuits, but I suspect most of us are doing the same thing – getting outside when we can, even if it’s just for a little while.
That time constraint was on our minds when we headed out for our first turkey hunt of the year. My season’s opening day was a week away, so I went along to help call and play guide for my partner, Joe, who is a relatively new turkey hunter.
With fresh intel from my brother-in-law, who had a few close encounters with birds on this same piece of property, we quietly closed the truck doors and started hiking to our spot. Well short of our destination, we heard a tom gobble from its roost. We were a bit late getting out, and in the growing daylight, I was worried the gobbler may have seen us.
We quickly found a suitable tree to back ourselves against and made ourselves ready. After a few minutes, I sent a soft call toward Romeo, and he eagerly answered, still on the roost.
Maybe he hadn’t seen us.
A few minutes later, we heard a bird fly down and I whispered to Joe that he’d better get his gun up on his knees. The gobbler responded to two squawks on the box call and then strutted into view, making a few steps toward us before Joe ended his turkey hunt 25 minutes after we’d left the truck.
Although I was excited that Joe had taken a nice bird, I couldn’t help but feel badly that his hunt was over so quickly, and I also regretted that I hadn’t taken the time to video the strutting bird before he shot it. I could easily have used my phone over his shoulder, as I was hidden by the tree that he was sitting against.
Nevertheless, no one was complaining about our luck.
A few days later, we spent longer than 25 minutes looking for morel mushrooms, but we still made the most of our time in the woods. In just under four hours, almost the same time it took to drive to and from our secret spot, we collected a little over 100 morels and made it home with plenty of time for Joe to get to a meeting at the office.
Given the choice between a full stringer or game bag, or having more time for the pursuit, I’ll take the extra time afield, any day. But when the time is limited, it’s always nice when the plan comes together as it has for us recently.