Saturday, April 16, 2011

When Turkey Season Lasts For a Day

Tuesday night, I got baby duty. Went to sleep at 11:15pm and was up every 1-2 hours until 4:30am when my alarms went off and yet I'd already been awake for an hour. I was on my 3rd cup of coffee as I walked out the door. The temperature was a bit brisk at around 45 degrees, and the 45 minute drive flew by with anticipation. The shear distance to Lexington WMA from my house prevented a lot of my scouting opportunities, but also that fact that the baby came a month early threw off my pre-season scouting plans as well.

Matt and I met up at 5:30am to give us plenty of time to get situated. While we are loading his gear in my truck, another vehicle drives past us, headed into the WMA. It's a Wednesday and we still have other people to deal with? Yep. We leave a few moments later heading toward our pre-picked spot all the while noticing that we are driving into a cloud of dust. We round the corner to where we were going to park, and there is the other vehicle, parked right where we were going. Out of 10,000 acres, they chose the spot we had talked about for months. We chat with them for a minute to insure that we are not going to run into each other and Matt and I head to a backup location. Given that pre-season scouting wasn't performed as we wanted to, our spirits sank a bit. We drove about a mile and a half from the other hunters and setup at the back of a 100 acre field. 

Our owl hoots went unnoticed and the darkness was perfectly quiet, save for the owl who apparently thought he had a new neighbor. We had a decoy placed at 17 yards at our 11 o'clock position. The setup looked perfect, now for the birds to come in. 

With daylight, I called sparingly without any response still. The higher the sun got, the more I plead with my yelps, cuts, and purrs. The birds were having none of it though. Around 8:30, we still had no responses even after utilizing a crow locator call, so we packed up and drove around the property attempting to locate a gobbler. 3 hours later, we still hadn't heard any turkeys, much less seen any, and this is where our planning comes into play: When hunting public land, always have a backup plan. When that backup plan fails, go fishing. This is exactly what we chose to do.

By 1:30, we were on the river bank of the Little River and had 2 dozen minnows ready to go. I hooked a minnow, tossed the line toward a brush pile, and barely 2 seconds after the bobber hit the surface, it disappeared. The crappie were hitting the minnows so quickly that most of the time the minnows were still on the hooks and alive after we threw the fish on the stringer. We got pickier along the way as to the size of the fish that we would keep. The afternoon and minnows went by quickly and we ended up having a pretty solid stringer for being on the bank of the river. All in all, Wednesday is the kind of day that makes a one day turkey season strikeout seem like no big deal.

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