On Saturday, I had the chance to go turkey hunting with my friend Carter Heath, the director of the National Wild Turkey Federation in New England, and our Lend a Helping Can auction winner Gary Spaulding.
The meet time was 4am, which meant a 2:50am wake up time. The weather was perfect- in the high 40's (which was much better than the weather the Governor had to do last week with our 2nd Lend a Helping Can winner Tim ).
We started in a blind in a giant open field long before sunrise. It was great just being out and getting the chance to watch the woods wake up (not very different than when Im out with the camera)!
Gary is an experienced hunter, but he's never been turkey hunting - so I was the only newbie, and I learned a lot from both he and Carter.
The sun rose, with our decoys about 25 yards into the field. The woods were pretty quiet, and the turkeys were unresponsive to our calls for some reason. A hen came strutting right past us but we never saw a jake. We hiked around the area and checked a few other spots - to no luck. So we switched locations....
Here's a pic of Gary Spaulding and I, sitting in the blind...
And Jason - our cameraman with NH Fish and Game...
*Carter sat outside the blind - doing some calling.
At the next location - we got responses from 2 jakes (male turkeys) - and one of them came straight at us. When I got my first glimpse of him - my heart started racing because HE WAS A FRIGGIN MONSTER BIRD!! His head looked about 3 1/2 to 4 ft high! He came in - answering our calls the whole time - and slowly circled us. Gary was on one side of a tree, covering that direction - and I was on the other. The bird circled us - and became completely visible, about 30-40 yards away - just as he walked behind where Jason was sitting! Classic!
I gotta say - that was a pretty tense 20 minute standoff as it circled us! I was convinced we were gonna bag us a bird right then! But - it never closed in, and retreated into the brush. We continued calling (and getting responses) for about another 30 minutes or so, and then tracked it for a bit- but came up empty.
I know the goal was to get one - and Carter was kind of bummed we didn't get one- but hey, that's hunting! For me - it was still a great experience!
Here's me - working on calls.....
And us coming in out of the field -
(Gary, me, and Carter)
And I have to say - it's really difficult to NOT get excited when they get close! Gary - who's an experienced hunter- whispered to me "When you move your head, do it really slowly....".
Apparently - I was looking around so fast, he thought I was having a convuslsion - hahah - Sorry Gary! He was a really good dude to go out hunting with. Thanks so much Gary!!!
And here's the post-hunt photo of Gary, Carter and me.
I know we didn't get a bird, but it was a REALLY cool day with a great group of guys. Carter, Jason, and Gary are really enthusiastic outdoorsmen who love the thrill of the hunt, and they have great knowledge of hunting etiquette.
Thanks to the three of them for making my first turkey hunting experience a real blast. And thanks to Gary Spaulding for donating to LEND A HELPING CAN to get the chance to go, and to Carter Heath for providing that chance to us.
So until next time, Mr Giant Tom Turkey. You won the day.....but next time you might not be so lucky!~ hahaha...