It was a beautiful morning to hunt but I watched the sun come up from my office window. I could have been hunting but had experienced about all the humiliation one man can stand. How could a bird as big as a beer keg, with a brain the size of marble, be so hard to kill? Since I whacked a Rio Grand gobbler in Texas two years ago I have been experiencing a turkey hunter’s nightmare.
Last year I hunted 14 days behind my house. Not because that was the only place I had access to but because the birds were roosting there every evening. Just before daylight I would set up near a ridge top and call softly. Immediately I would be smacked in the face with several gobbles. Then the toms would fly down and disappear in to the forest.
This year I traveled to Oklahoma to hunt with Cimarron Valley Outfitters near Seminole county Oklahoma, figuring I had pretty much established the fact I could no longer kill a bird by my self. So I sought out some professional help. The first evening we had a gobbler answer us as soon as we stepped out of the truck. We hastily set up in the edge of a pasture and begin calling. In less than a minute he stepped out at about 80 yards and strutted a bee-line right to our decoy.
When he was at 50 yards I pulled the hammer back on my muzzleloading shotgun and found it would not stay cocked. Of course I couldn’t break into a gun maintenance session with the bird a rock throw away so I pulled the trigger back, pulled the hammer back and then let the hammer go when the turkey was at about 25 yards. The gun belched a cloud of smoke and the big Eastern gobbler ran off, unharmed.
The next morning we hunted a different location along a beautiful creek bottom. Just before daylight my guide owl hooted and, bam! A gobbler answered from about 100 yards away, roosted at the edge of a field. We began to move in and just as we were preparing to set up our decoy, the bird flew down in the field, only about 35 yards away. I had cleaned the debris from my gun the night before so it cocked perfectly this time and guess what? I missed.
That evening in another spot my guide called in a bird to about 50 yards. He was hot and gobbling at every noise we made but refused to come under a three strand fence high enough off the ground to roll a 55 gallon drum under. He strutted there for about 10 minutes gobbling so much another tom came in and they commenced a three round knock-down, drag-out as wicked as any UFC fight I have seen. When they were done they just walked away.
My last morning, I located a bird by myself and set up about 75 yards away in the edge of another field. I heard him fly down and he was coming my way—I must have been scratching out his love song. Then, three hens stepped out about 10 yards from me and worked their way into the field. Big bird stepped out moments later. I called, he gobbled and then saw the hens and went straight for them. Last I saw, they were holding hands, walking away into the Oklahoma hardwoods.
Apparently, even professional outfitters and great turkey hunting country can’t break my string of bad luck. So, I give up. I refuse to get up at 5a.m. anymore. I refuse to dress is my perfectly matched ensemble of camouflage. I refuse to set in the woods, motionless, making funny noises by rubbing a stick against a rock. And, I refuse to keep trying to come up with excuses as to why I can’t kill a bird. Well, at least until next year…
Oklahoma Turkey Hunting
Cimarron Valley Outfitters (www.cvohunts.com) has access to incredible turkey hunting country and have guides that know how to work a bird. Even so they couldn’t break my string of bad luck. Of course I did have two great opportunities. By not properly cleaning my gun I missed one and by not shooting good enough missed another. At any rate, if you’re looking for a great turkey hunting experience give James Burnett at Cimarron Valley Outfitters a call. A three day, all inclusive hunt for two birds only costs $ 1000.