God smiles on Dad

May 6, 2010

Faith Outdoors

My 88-year-old father just got back from his five-day Minnesota turkey hunt earlier this week. To my surprise and delight, I was given the news that both he and my brother, Joe, got birds. Joe took a nice, mature tom on Sunday, and Dad got a 1-year-old tom, called a jake, on Monday, the last day of the hunt.

They faced tough conditions and didn’t even see a tom the first three days and heard very little gobbling. But, they finally found a good spot and took two birds on the last two days.

What really impressed me was how much the landowners wanted Dad to get a bird. After striking out on a couple of different places the first three days, they went to a place where Joe’s friend had hunted in years past. When the landowner met Dad, he told him about a good spot near the back end of his property where he had seen turkeys.

When Joe remarked that there were lots of fences to cross to get there, the landowner said he would leave all of the gates open so Joe could drive Dad all the way back to the spot in the morning. Dad can’t walk very far anymore, especially in the dark, so this small act of generosity was much appreciated by both Dad and Joe.

They set up the blind Saturday afternoon, and hunted in it for a couple of hours before taking the landowner and his wife out to dinner. Then, they returned Sunday morning. A tom appeared in the field later in the morning, with two hens nearby. Joe got the hens to come toward the blind, and the tom followed. The hens eventually veered away toward the woods, but the tom was close enough for a shot and Joe took it.

The next morning, things came together nicely — and quickly. Three jakes came right in to the decoys at 6:25 and Dad had an easy shot, which he made. Here’s the amazing part — even though he had gall bladder surgery just a month ago, he got up at 4 a.m. every day of the hunt. A couple of times, he woke up before Joe. And, he wasn’t tired when it was all over.

Now, it’s my turn. My Minnesota hunt begins Sunday and I did some scouting today. I heard a bird gobbling on the land I have permission to hunt, plus I saw a gobbler strutting in a field as I drove away from the property. The weather looks good for Sunday, so I’m excited,  especially after hearing about the success Dad and Joe had!

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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