Have you ever tried to sit motionless for nearly three hours, barely blinking an eye?
This is how it went for the youth hunt with a local father, son and yours truly doing the calling.
One of these years by golly, we’ll get a gobbler for this well-deserved and patient youngster. With all of us physically and mentally drained by the experience, this one old gobbler had merely outlasted us.
All the way through his pre-dawn roost gobbling, to the fly down, to the drumming sounds of his wings on the ground, chimed in by thunderous gobbles all along, he never showed himself, at least at first. He used the early spring greenery to his advantage, just like we were planning to use on him.
He roosted on one side of the ridge, flew down to the other, got up directly behind us then glided back across the hollow from whence he came finally revealing that glowing red head of his. From there, he once again gobbled down at us in taunting fashion. In turn, we continued to tease him with bogus calls, a hen decoy, camouflage clothing and makeshift blind holding all three of us no less.
To him, maybe it didn’t seem fair. To us, it became torture. He began to move laterally on a higher bench just across the hollow, gobbling much less frequently now in the hour past sunrise. Suspecting that he may have finally moved off with some real females of his own species, we whispered to the youngster to quietly get up and take a peak outside of the blind, in the event the gobbler was coming in “silent” to the decoy and just out of our view.
The youngster raised his shotgun, but the bird had flushed off in a flash. “He was there along that dirt road all fanned out,” he said. Had we just sat another five minutes? Knowing that cardinal rule full well but after all, folks have only so many five-minute motionless periods in them. We had done everything but shoot this gobbler. Round one and a tip of the hat go to this boss gobbler of youth day 2012!
In other youth turkey hunt news, the Logan Area Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) adult “guides” report that youngsters Erin Gore and Hunter Montgomery both bagged nice birds thanks to special access provided by local coal companies.
Hunter (his real name) has become a regular here for one outdoor reason or another in the annals of good graces from the Red Gods. Big bird and youth guide of the local chapter, Roger Wolfe reports in with a Merriam’s subspecies gobbler he just took from the Black Hills turf of Wyoming.
And last but not least on a sad turkey note, West Virginia’s Glenn C. “Tink” Smith has died at 101 years of age. Tink is revered within all relevant circles of the wild turkey and particularly the NWTF.
Upon retirement, the World War II vet took up turkey photography. His pit blind, ground level, eye-to- eye 35mm photographs of the wild turkey quickly became nationally renowned. He shared his photos with many including the Banner readership where they have appeared on many occasions over the past 25 years.