May 18, 2009

Faith Outdoors

Day 2 of my Wisconsin turkey season on May 14 found me sitting in a blind with my 87-year-old father, Ray. It was windy and the birds were silent. So, at 8 a.m., I got out of the blind and walked around the property we were hunting to see if I could strike up a bird. Nothing.

I went back and asked my dad if he would mind if I went back to the property I had hunted the day before. He agreed and off I went. I got there about 9 a.m. and promptly dosed off in the blind I had set up there. At about 9:45, I woke up and did some calling. Minutes later, I heard a short gobble back in the woods. Then, another.
I waited and soon saw the red head of a gobbler bobbing through the trees. It stopped to take a look, then ran its head up in classic turkey fashion at about 35-40 yards. I shot and the bird started running. I missed for the second day in a row!
This time, instead of just watching the bird escape, I quickly drew a bead on it and took a second shot. To my surprise, he went down and stayed down. It seemed like a long shot and my measurement from where he was back to the blind confirmed it — 58 paces.
I was ecstatic and very thankful I was able to make the shot. It was a nice bird with a 10-inch beard that weighed 20 pounds. Not as big as my son’s bird, but I was happy nonetheless. Later, I realized that the reason I had missed the first shot was because a tree happened to be right in the path of my pellets and it absorbed most of them.
It didn’t bother me in the least that Joe’s bird ended up being the biggest of our spring hunt. I’m very happy that Joe got this bird because he had gone the last two seasons without getting one. He was starting to get down on turkey hunting, but this trophy gobbler got him very pumped up about it again.
All in all, it has been a great spring for turkey hunting. I came close to filling my bonus tag on Friday. I had a big gobbler strutting out in a field at about 50 yards for a group of six hens that came within 15 yards of my blind. When the hens started walking away, I figured they would pull the tom away from me, so I took the shot. The bird went down, but got back up and ran into the woods.
Oh well. That’s the way it goes. I’m happy about the birds I was able to harvest, but the season isn’t finished yet. My son, Andy, goes out at the end of this week for Wisconsin’s final season, as does his Grandpa Bob Guditis. Once again, I will serve as guide and be honored to do so. Fishing will have to wait one more week.

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.

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