The winter had been way too long and the snow just never seemed like it would go away. However, we did have quite a few turkeys coming into the feeder through these freezing months to take advantage of the free corn from MWTHA before they would shuffle off into the woods to find a comfy spot to try and keep warm. It’s during this time I kept myself busy cleaning up, resurfacing and practicing with the various turkey calls in my venerable old turkey vest. Perk, Perk, Perk, Cluck, Cluck, Cluck, Putt, Putt, Putt; okay those didn’t sound too bad. Worked on holding the mouth call up into the palate so I’d stop gagging on it; that didn’t go as good. Finally, the snow was starting to go away so it was time to practice a few shots with the shotgun and see if the wife and I could hammer a paper turkey head. My wife shoots first and destroys that printed strutter. I go next with pretty much the same result (don’t tell my wife I said this but her shot was a little better than mine). Ah, yes, it all seem to be coming together, these poor turkeys don’t have a chance (famous last words, right?).

So we stay out to dark and see where they fly up, and we get up early to see approximately where they fly down…OK, got it, no problem.

Finally, here it is, opening day and my wife and I are ready, we are set, we have got this, just put that old Tom out there and he is toast, might as well start making the dressing and cranberries. We get up well before daylight, get all our camo on, turkey vests, decoy hen, guns, and shells and head off to the designated spot where last they were put to bed.

As morning is just beginning to crack the dome of night, there is a thunderous gobble nearby, then another, and another. Then there are several at once. Even though we had put these guys to bed we can’t believe the sound of so much close gobbling. It gives you shivers every time. The light gets to that point that you can now see your sights and we hear the first fly-down. I softly call and throw in some purrs and there are immediate gobbles. Hot dog, here we go. I softly call some more, but the gobbles seem to be getting farther away, then farther, and farther. What the heck, everything was going so good when “IT “ appears. What’s reddish in color, with a big fluffy tail and rhymes with pox? Yup, it’s a fox, darting in and out of the wood line going through the little brush piles looking for mice or chipmunks I guess but the turkeys didn’t care. They wanted no part of this guy. The fox eventually left and so did we. The moral of the story is it was a great morning hearing tremendous gobbling with my favorite hunting buddy but we just plain got “outfoxed” (groan).

Gary Maas

North Central Chapter

Letter to NRC