It was the first Sunday in the May turkey season and my brother-in-law called me around lunchtime to tell me he was coming back from the transfer site (for those who live in other parts of this great state a “transfer site” is where garbage is transferred from one’s vehicle to a large garbage compactor), anyway, when he said he was coming back and had the window down listening for gobbles or clucks and heard a loud gobble down the road from his place. I said that was nice and asked what was for lunch? (Hint, Hint).
“No thanks”, he said we already had lunch but how would you like to come on down and call for me and we’ll try and get that Tom. I asked him where he’d like to set up and he said that we’d probably do good to set up down the road a mile and on this side of the road in the woods, “you know, where the turkey is, Ha, Ha”. Now, the “woods” he’s referring to indeed has trees and such but is also part of a big festering swampy area. Hello, the first week in May and the temperatures had been hovering around 70 to 80 degrees that year. We’re talking major mosquitoes reporting for duty! Okay, sure, I’ll be right over.
I put on all my regular turkey hunting regalia with the added touch of a Boonie type hat with a full face and head mosquito net, permethrin-impregnated pants, knee-high rubber boots, bug spray (didn’t have a thermal cell yet) and welder’s gloves, Okay, I didn’t have welder’s gloves but it wouldn’t have hurt. We get down to the designated area and could hear the Tom gobbling across the road a fair ways away. I said we’d probably do best if I called from down the hill by the swampy area (gulp) with him staying on top of the hill in the cool breeze. If he had any problem with my idea he didn’t show it and we got situated. Wow, the mosquitoes were a cloud, but the netting and spray kept them at bay.
So, the first time I cluck with a little purr thrown in the gobbler goes nuts. He gobbles and double gobbles then nothing. I cluck and purr some more and he gobbles a little closer. We do this for a short while but he seemed to hang up. So I turn my back to the old boy and cluck like “if you don’t want some of this I’m leaving”, he gobbles some more, then again, and I hear BOOM. I hear the ceremonial whoops and howls of a very happy camper on the top of the hill.
My brother-in-law said the turkey was near but behind him and wouldn’t move but with that last gobble that seemed to be farther away he came around a fallen log closer and bang, the turkey was on the menu. After tagging and taking some totally candid pictures (right) we walked out to the road and started the long walk back to his place with a very big heavy Tom over the shoulder when we see this huge piece of earth moving machinery coming down the road and we stop to check out the largest (and I mean the most gigantic) excavator with the largest front bucket we’d ever seen, you could’ve put a Buick in it. The guy driving the thing stops and wants to know all about the hunt, so we told the whole tale sticking strictly to the facts of course, and that now we have this long, hard walk back with this heavy bird.
Without missing a beat the driver says if we want we could hop in the bucket and he’d give us a ride down to where we were going. You didn’t have to ask twice, we hopped in that gigantic front bucket, kicked back and were delivered in style waving to people as they passed and got looks like we were insane. We probably were a little crazy to do this and it probably was dangerous, but what the heck, right.