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Triple Trophy Valley

By HUNTER REDFIELD – Student contributor

It all started with mouth calls and an owl hooter sitting in the cup holder of the truck with my sister in the passenger seat. We made our loop every night, checking all the spots we knew turkeys were roosting and had one spot where we consistently heard them.

The youth day of turkey season was slowly ticking closer and closer, and finally it was the day before, and we were seeing turkeys in many different spots that we could hunt. We drove around looking at the turkeys, trying to decide where my mom and I were going to go, and also where my dad was going to take my sister.

Yet, when we listened where we had heard turkeys all the nights prior, everything was silent except the hoot of an owl and peep frogs. So, we decided to hunt the spots where we had been hearing and seeing birds regularly, hoping that they were just not wanting to talk and were still there.

Alarms were set for 5:15 a.m., and it seemed to come way earlier than expected. We all were dressed, gathered food and drinks, and loaded into the trucks. Soon, my mom and I got out and grabbed everything we needed and walked down the road as I slid 3 ½” Kent’s into my gun, trying to make as little noise as possible since we didn’t know where the turkeys were.

Soon we were where we wanted to be and began sneaking down the path, and slipped into our spot as quiet as possible in case the birds were roosted nearby. We settled in and it started to get light out. The same owl let out a hoot and suddenly the nearby valley was struck with the rumble of turkey gobbles.

Again the owl hooted, again the turkeys gobbled, and the process went on for a while. It was finally light enough for the turkeys to fly down and the gobblers had flown down in the opposite direction of us and let out a couple gobbles before going silent and not making another peep.

Soon a hen was heard and we yelped back and forth at each other before she, too, had gone silent but was soon heard by the gobblers as they let out one more gobble.

I was thinking at that point the hunt was a complete bust and the only reason we would be leaving the woods was because the clock would have ticked noon.

I called and called with no response, without a thought that we would kill a turkey. A couple geese flew over and I began calling, only to stop and listen to nothing respond.

I just happened to look out the corner of my eye and see a turkey walking in our direction. I wasn’t sure if it was one of the jakes or the long beard that had been with them, but he soon stuck his head up and I saw a beard dangling.

He stopped directly behind a tree and I could see two more birds following him. They didn’t seem enthused with the decoy and were beginning to walk away when I let out one final yelp stopping him and said “I’m killing him right now” to my mom just as the crack of my shotgun let loose. Only an hour into turkey season, and mine had ended.

He flopped around and the jakes with him ganged up on him trying to beat up their dying buddy before I yelled at them to get away. It was in that moment when the gun cracked that a third triple trophy in a row had been achieved, each with their own unique story, but, yet, all in the exact same spot on the edge of what I now consider triple trophy valley.

We celebrated before we picked the turkey up and took a few pictures. Then, we left and walked out that same path that we had snuck down in the dark, only this time with a dead bird hanging over my shoulder and blood coating the back of my legs.

We made it home, changed clothes, and went to show my grandparents only to end up staying, eating some breakfast sandwiches, drinking some coffee, and driving back home to a dog that was more than anxious to smell the freshly killed bird.

All that before noon struck the clock in triple trophy valley.

 

Columnist Hunter Redfield is a student at Cranberry High School and a member of Cranberry Chronicles, the school’s journalism/publications group.

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