Turkey Hunting - Thinking Out Loud
The wind rattles the leaves in all directions. You sit patiently, your back to an oak tree, that you know is over twice your age. You hear the sweet sound of a hen cutting in the distance. As you debate on whether to move on to the next spot, a crow calls out and in return, a shock gobble pierces your ears directly over the hill from you. You can hear the roughness and the sound of drums. He's close. The turkey woods, is by far, one of the most exciting things on this earth a person can witness. The strategy for hunting these birds range from blind tactics in an open field, to "rubbing and gunning". When a turkey hunt for an Ol' Tom comes together, it usually happens quick. Although, just as quick as it can come together, it can fall apart. We've all been there. We get on a "hot" bird that will gobble at the sound of rocks rubbing together, all the way down to a weary Ol' Tom who gobbles once at 200 yards and not again until he's in your lap. Turkeys were not always in this area. In the early 90's they were introduced back into eastern Kentucky. I remember as a kid going with my dad and, then Game Warden, Carl Salyers, and releasing tons of turkeys into the wild on the Lewis and Greenup County line. I never knew that what I was doing that day, as a young child, was going to bring me years of joy in the outdoors. As an adult, and all through my teenage years, turkey hunting has been a main focus of mine every spring. Turkey hunting is a challenge. Trail cameras can help, but you cannot bait them. That's what I love about it. Every sunrise during turkey season, hearing one on the roost and deciding where to setup is one of the biggest rushes I get in the woods. Just because a Tom will answer your call, that does not mean you will ever lay eyes on him. I've had birds that would gobble and literally rattle my chest cavity, but I never got to see them. Smart. They are just one smart Ol' bird. With the rise of hunters on social media and the number of hunting themed television shows coming about, hunters feel the need to push themselves to their farthest limits. One way I have clearly noticed, as have you, is chasing Longbeards with their bow and arrow. Personally, I think that is one of the best ways to connect to the outdoors and the ones who came before us. Not only did turkey provide food for families during our past generations of hunters, but those generations that created the guidelines for modern hunting only had access to bow and arrows. Let that sink in just for a second. Sure, today's archery equipment is by far better than theirs, however the "their" archery equipment was evolved from sticks and stones. Archery equipment in the 80's evolved from the archery equipment in the 20's. The fact that hunters still, with today's technology, is challenging themselves in the way they do, it gives great insight as to the values that come along naturally with being a hunter. To some it up, I'm proud of hunters today. Why? Anyone can go buy a turkey at the market, but today's hunters are choosing to wake up early, walk for miles and even then choosing to decrease their odds of filling the freezer by packing their bow. Turkey hunting in eastern Kentucky has became a tradition. Already guys/gals are passing on the knowledge they learned to their children. One thing you can for certain bet on is where I'll be every opening day of turkey season here in eastern Kentucky. Stay strong hunters - stay strong!
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