Wild turkey getaway

November 19, 2008

Faith Outdoors

With only two days left in the Wisconsin wild turkey season, I decided to go out this morning for one last try. I pulled onto a small piece of private property near Somerset about 8:15 and was hoping a flock of birds would be scratching around somewhere on the property.

I walked around for a little bit, then sat down and tried some hen calling. I thought I heard a hen yelp back once or twice, but nothing showed, so I moved to a section of woods behind the landowner’s house. He said turkeys often cruise through this area, so I decided to check it out. It was the last spot I had planned to try.

I walked a short distance, then came to a spot where the terrain begins to slope down to the St. Croix River. I heard some shuffling in the leaves and thought it was a deer. Then, to my surprise, a turkey appeared about 30 or 40 yards away. Had I been ready with my shotgun, it would have been an easy shot on this hen. Instead, I had to put my gun to my shoulder as the bird went into some brush after spotting me.

I could still see the hen in between the trees and felt I had a makable shot, so I fired. After a brief pause, the bird flew off unscathed. Then, the air exploded with the takeoffs of about a dozen more birds that spooked at the sound of the shot.

So, that was it. These birds were not coming back anytime soon, so I packed up and left for home and, eventually, the office. It was exciting to get up close and personal with these birds, but I was a little disappointed about not making the shot.

In the end, I chose to thank God for such a great morning in the woods and for being able to see some of his creatures. I also reminded myself that God had answered my prayer this morning, which was that he would bring a bird to me and that I would get a makable shot. Both happened, I just didn’t connect. It was a case of what my Dad likes to call “pilot error.”

To offset the disappointment, I recalled some of the other successful hunts I’ve had and the animals I have been fortunate enough to harvest this year — two turkeys during the spring in Minnesota and Wisconsin, a turkey in the fall in Minnesota and a deer on the Minnesota firearms openerj Nov. 8. There’s plenty of meat in my freezer, so I have lots of good meals of wild game to look forward to.

Not only that, I leave Friday for Great Falls, Mont. where I will be hunting elk and mule deer with my two oldest boys, Joe and Andy, and their Grandpa Bob Guditis. It should be lots of fun. I pray that God will bring animals into range and that he will help us shoot straight!

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About Dave Hrbacek

Staff photographer and writer for The Catholic Spirit. Also, avid outdoors enthusiast with a passion for hunting, fishing and photography. Married to Julie and have four children, three boys and a girl.

View all posts by Dave Hrbacek
  • Actually, I think you hit the nail right on the head. You could’ve just recited the Nicene Creed.

    Sure, it might have confused your co-worker for a second, but it probably would’ve been edifying for you.

    Now, thanks to the upcoming Roman Missal changes, you’ll be able to say it as the Latin intended…

    “I believe…”

    Too often, I get a sense that people just recite the Creed each week in almost zombie-like fashion, lacking any real conviction. Now, that could be because for so many years it’s not been a personal statement of faith…it’s been “We believe”.

    How do I know what the person standing next to me believes?