Tuesday, May 10, 2011

May 10, 2011- A Fine Spring Morning

The alarm clock sounded again at 3:45am. A quick look outside showed cloudy skies. The temperature was 45. I headed to the mountain. A whip-poor-will was calling in the middle of the road. It flew, as I was digging for the camera. I parked a little farther up the road; at what used to be one of my favorite turkey hunting spots.

I hear a second whip-poor-will in the distance; as I climb the hill. I wonder if there are still any turkeys here. Daylight comes and one gobbles down the ridge. I move about 200 yards closer and stop to listen. Whoosh, then a scream. A Red-tailed Hawk nearly takes my hat off. I look up and another is headed my way. To my left, I see their nest. The gobbler sounds off again. I move away from the hawks nest and try to find a place to set up. The tangle of green-brier make that difficult. I call, he answers and flies down. He moves up the ridge and I circle to the head of the hollow and set up. I call one time and here he comes; on a dead run. One problem, he went by me so fast that I couldn't shoot and he is now straight behind me, about 15 yards away. I can't see him through the briers. He gobbles and struts. Every-time he gobbles, I can feel it.

He clucks several times; trying to find the hen. I have to do something. I carefully slide around the tree. Still can't see him. He gobbles and gobbles. Then he clucks for a location. I cluck back. This goes on and on. We can not see each other, so close; but seemingly so far away. I slowly and carefully stand up. Gun ready and he gobbles again. I still can't see him. Twenty minutes later, arms aching. Same deal. Gobble, gobble, cluck, cluck back on and on; we just plain and simply can't see each other. Two hens come in and I can hear them walking up over the hill. Silence, a black and white warbler lands on my shotgun. It goes down the barrel; searching the joints of the ventilated rib. It makes it down to my hand and sits there for a little while. Black-throated green warblers are active all around, several gorgeous hooded warblers join in. I see movement from the hilltop. A hen walks by me in perfect view; apparently headed for her nest site.

The gobbler sounds off once more in the distance.  I move to where I think he was and settle in. Something on the ground about 20 yards away catches my attention. It looks like the leaves are slowly coming toward me. It is a woodcock, feeding along; probing for worms. The turkey gobbles; he is on top of a high-wall. I call, he gobbles on and on for about twenty minutes. I can't go up; he will not come down. We call it a draw. The woodcock passes by at about three feet; probing away and very content. So was I. It is now 8:30; the gobbler quit gobbling and we will take up where we left off: Tomorrow.  I bet that I will not sit down anywhere near a brier patch.

Posted by High Virginia Outdoors

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