For the previous 27 years of my life, I was averse to the idea of hunting. Hunting was very big in my family, especially on my father’s side. I tried to get into once, but I just couldn’t find an interest in it. I shot a bird and a frog with a pellet gun when I was little. All that left me with was a sense of regret. From that point, I was not interested in the idea of hunting. I thought it was inhumane and cruel. Today, I went turkey hunting with my uncle and my father, and I must say, I had a pretty good time.
I went to my parent’s house last night, so I wouldn’t have to get up really early to make the drive from Oklahoma City to Chandler before sunrise. My dad woke me up at 5am; we had to be ready to go once my uncle got to the house at 6am. The three of us arrived at the designated hunting spot still under the cover of darkness. My dad and uncle knew the area pretty well, and they suspected some turkeys would come strolling through the area once the sun came up.
My dad and I setup just to the west of a pond dam, and my uncle was just to the east of us along a fence. My dad had a decoy of a female turkey that he placed in the clearing just about 40 yards in front of our hunting spot. Within minutes of us getting settled in, we heard several gobbles in the not-so-far-off distance. I’m new to the world of hunting, but I thought this was pretty impressive. These two men clearly know their stuff! My uncle started using his turkey call, but couldn’t seem to woo the sought-after male turkey towards neither him nor us.
The next 30 to 45 minutes were relatively quiet. It wasn’t long after this that we started to year a couple gobbles off in the distance. Before too long, two hens came into our field of vision. They came into the clearing just off to our south and came charging towards the decoy. These two ladies didn’t seem pleased there was this sexy new lady on their turf. They checked out the decoy for a little bit; they didn’t seem too impressed with what they saw out of the inflatable plastic hen. The two gals started to make their way off to the west.
Just as the two ladies were exiting our field of vision, a male turkey came strutting in. This guy was all puffed up, but was treading lightly. He didn’t come charging in on the decoy like the two hens did. He kept his distance, and eventually made his way behind a cedar tree just to our south. He must have caught eyes with the two ladies because he kept moving to the west after them.
I thought this was the only chance we were going to have on this hunting trip, but I was wrong. A little bit later we started to hear gobbles off to the north. From where my dad and I were setup, we couldn’t see very far to the north because of all the timber. There was no way for either of us to shift positions. Not only were our legs asleep from sitting so long, but it sounded like the turkey was too close for us to start making any sudden movements. My dad and I sat very still, and this thing had to have been within 10 feet of us. We could hear it stepping through the leaves just at our back. I figured he was going to lock eyes with our decoy and go check her out, but this guy was far too savvy for that. This turkey has been around the block a few times because he took off to the north, out of our field of vision.
We had another opportunity on the same land, but it was spoiled by the owner-of-the-land’s dog. The dog was just over the hill from us chasing any animal that entered “his domain.” We packed our things and discussed the events of the morning. From the way my uncle talked, the turkey that was nearly in our back pocket, was a beast. He seemed agitated by the fact my dad and myself didn’t get a shot on the bird, but he seemed very enthusiastic about the morning’s events.
My dad and uncle had permission to hunt on a different person’s land, so we headed there. Right as we pulled up, there was a hen walking north across the dirt road onto the land we were about to hunt on. We quickly got our gear and headed onto the land because we knew there would have to be a male chasing her. My uncle stayed near the top of a hill. My dad and I went farther down a hill to the north. My dad instructed me to lean up against a tree he had picked out. We weren’t there more than 5 minutes before a female came within view. A few minutes after she came in view, two males came rushing after her. This was the best opportunity for me to shoot, but the way I was setup next to the tree kept me from comfortably taking a shot. I am right handed with everything in life, except shooting a gun. The tree I was leaning against kept me from rotating the way I needed to to take the shot. I probably could have shot right-handed, but hindsight is always 20/20. There were a couple other encounters with the same pair of males, but nothing ever developed quite like the previous encounters.
When I expressed interest in going hunting with my dad, he said one of the things he enjoys about it is the adrenaline rush he feels. I didn’t know what he was talking about until today. There were two occurrences when it seemed like an adrenaline-filled bomb went off inside my body. It was pretty cool to experience what my dad was talking about.
So after 27 years of being against hunting, why did I decide to go? Hunting has played a big role in many members of my family’s lives. I wanted to experience what they have experienced. During my time as a child, I enjoyed spending time outdoors. I spend so much time hovering over a keyboard, watching TV, and doing other things indoors, I felt I was losing touch with nature. I wanted to reconnect with the Great Outdoors. Most importantly, I wanted to spend time with members of my family. I had a great time, and I’m actually going back tonight so we can go again in the morning.