By HUNTER REDFIELD – Student Contributor
Jacob and I have talked about killing a turkey together before school since 7th grade, each time occurring closer and closer to when we could drive and hunt together.
So when turkey season started, we were more than ready to find turkeys. Every night I drove around checking all the spots I figured we had a chance at killing a bird quick.
One spot happened to have birds Saturday night.
We talked about whether we were gonna go Monday morning, and finally decided we would give it a little bit. Needless to say, when I stopped at the same spot Sunday night and didn’t hear any turkeys, I was more than happy we had decided not to go. Yet, after checking all the other spots, I drove back because I had a weird feeling they just weren’t willing to gobble.
Upon an owl hooting, an entire hillside seemed to light up with gobbles.
Shortly, Jacob was on the phone and the kid who didn’t want to hunt said, “I’m loading my stuff right now I’ll be there in an hour.”
So, anxiously, I drove home and dug out all the clothes I had stashed away. Soon enough, Jacob was heard pulling into the driveway and we made a game plan. We decided to go with the safest option possible so we could get out quick and make it to school on time.
Five o’clock hit, and a night of restlessness came to a close. We got all of our clothes on and made it to our spot, setting the decoy up and slipping into a cluster of trees.
The sun slowly crept over the trees and all the turkeys started gobbling. We watched as they flew out of the trees and went a different way than both of us expected.
So, we made a move, hoping that we could close the gap and be able to call them back quick. Jacob yelped to see where the birds were, and frantically I shoved the decoy into the ground, breaking its stake as they gobbled not far away.
We slipped back to a couple trees and began calling, and suddenly, gobbles were a lot louder than before. Soon enough, every noise I made on the call was getting an immediate response from gobblers, and I was caught off guard when I saw one fly out of the tree and over the hill, followed by many more.
With the turkeys over the hill and the other ones silent, we made our escape and planned on hunting them the following morning, knowing that we didn’t spook any of them and which way they would be headed the next day.
We went on to school after a pit stop to drop off our stuff and drearily made it through the day. Jacob came over again, and we waited for the sun to make its descent so we could go listen for the turkeys, but with the setting sun came a rainstorm and no turkeys could be heard.
Hoping nothing had changed, we made our plan to get into the valley below them and with a field trip the following day, we had some extra time to hopefully kill a turkey.
The clock again struck five, and we seemed like professionals at getting prepared before we loaded the truck and drove to our spot. We got out and walked as quietly as we could through the dark shadows of trees and the haze of fog that filled the gaps between them.
We were more than stoked, and we quickly got to where we wanted to be and seemed to stumble through the darkness, looking for a couple dark shadows of trees that were big enough to sit on.
We sat down and waited and waited, and finally a bird chirped and then another, and before it even thought to become light out, the entire valley was singing with birds.
If I would’ve been holding my breath while waiting for the turkeys to gobble, I would have been long passed out before we ever heard a gobble and soon a hen yelp.
Then they started gobbling more and more often, and the ridge was booming with noise. Soon Jacob could see a hen coming right down the opening where we expected the gobblers to come from, and she walked right by us.
I heard Jacob say something, and all I could make out was “Turkey, decoy, left.” which was the most vague sentence, yet it got straight to the point and with me not being able to see past the tree Jacob was sitting on. He assisted in telling me a long beard was heading our direction.
A hen started yelping in the brush beside us, and the gobblers were gobbling over and over. I started yelping and not only got cut off by gobbles, but by the hen who began cutting and yelping as loud as she could. Her diaphragm could be heard vibrating because of how much air she was trying to push out.
We went silent, letting the turkeys do their thing and watching the long beard walk right by without a care in the world that we were there.
The hen stopped yelping and cutting, and with her silence also came the silence of the gobblers. I saw Jacobs head turn toward me and he whispered, “Where did those other gobblers go?” I began yelping, and suddenly I was cut off by the gobblers who were just on the other side of some brush.
Their gobbles boomed through the woods and the vibration was so strong you could feel it in your chest. My heart was in hyperdrive, beating as fast as it would go, and I continued to call each time with the gobblers hammering and soon stepping into the open.
I could hear them spit as they went into strut but could still not see them because of where I was sitting. I couldn’t help but look at Jacob’s elbow and see the shaking just before the gobblers came into my view and began running toward the decoy.
“Are you ready?” was answered with a “yes,” and two putts were soon answered with a shotgun going off.
With that single shot was an end to a dream we have had for many years, and it finally came to a close all before anyone ever thought of going to school.