Growing up, I remember sitting 3 feet away from the television while watching an old worn-out turkey hunting VHS. The tape was scratchy and the music and dialogue constantly faded in and out like a Jimmi Hendrix wah-wah guitar pedal. I was captivated.
The host was a scraggly-looking bearded man decked head to toe in camouflage while talking about turkeys in a lazy southern drawl that would put anyone to sleep. And heck, as fascinated as I was, maybe I did doze off a time or two, because for the number of times I’ve watched that video I don’t think I can remember a single piece of useful information. Perhaps my inattention to the details is why I’m such an amateur when it comes to bagging Butterballs. But part of me likes it that way.
All of my hunts during the fall and winter are scripted out weeks in advance and leave little to the imagination. I know what deer stands I’m going to sit in. I know what areas I’m going to pheasant hunt and I can navigate my usual duck sloughs with my eyes closed. Not so when it comes to chasing turkeys. IF I even get picked in my area’s turkey lottery, it’s usually a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants sort of ordeal. In fact, here’s my (idiot’s) guide to turkey hunting:
- Spend an hour trying to find the diaphragm call you haven’t seen in a year
- Buy a new diaphragm call because you know you won’t use your box or slate call
- Throw your bow hunting gear in the back of your truck while hoping it still fits (been a long winter, eh?)
- Try out your new call during the 3 hour drive to your property the night before opening day
- Convince yourself that it’s the call that sounds bad, not you
- Arrive just in time to roost some birds (hopefully)
- Wake up the next morning and discover the spot where you thought you roosted said birds is under 3” of water
- Set up on the edge of a logging road and begin repenting for your previous year’s sins (simply praying for a bird isn’t enough)
- At around 11am pay no attention to the Tom sneaking 30 yards to your right as you bury your face in a bag of Jack Links Jerky
- Try wooing the big Tom back to your decoy using your diaphragm/jerky call (patent pending)
- Try again next year
Bagging a bird is a bonus, playing cat and mouse is exhilarating, and not having any idea of how I’m going to mess up each year is what keeps me coming back. When it comes to turkey hunting, I may be an idiot, but that’s half the fun.
The Over/Under blog is written by Andrew Vavra, Pheasants Forever’s Marketing Specialist.