Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Good friends and good hunting

Since I can't stop talking about the turkey hunting, Amy is insisting I sit down and write about it.

The saga started six years ago when Steve and Troy and I figured we would try our hand at turkey hunting. In Utah you have to draw for a permit, but we figured it couldn't be too hard to get one of those tags. Well, six years later Steve and I finally drew our coveted tags. (Troy got his turkey a few years earlier). We worked off a tip from my brother-in-law Patrick and decided to hunt by Monticello.

Steve and his wife Megan dedicated their weekends to scouting out the area and finding the big Toms. I couldn't convince my Megan that she wanted to spend her weekend hiking around chasing turkeys, so the hard work was left to others.

Steve did a great job and knew right where to take us. Opening morning we looked out over a field full of turkeys. The adrenaline started pumping and we were sure the action would get exciting fast. We got out in front of the feeding birds, set-up the decoy, got cammoed up, and Steve started calling. We waiting breathlessly...and got....nothing. Not a gobble, not a bird, not a sound. We never saw those turkeys again.

We spent the rest of the day hiking and hiking, pushing barefooted Australians driving a rented jeep out of a snow drift, and hiking some more. In the late afternoon we decided to go back to our original spot because we at least knew birds were around.

We set up the decoy and settled in for what we thought might be a long wait. However, it didn't take long before turkeys started appearing out of the woods. First one, then another. They didn't venture too far from the trees but they were there. Turkeys are very wary, and any movement catches their eye. One bird busted me as I turned to look at Steve and was long gone.

Finally, after about 3 hours of sitting a group of hens came out in front of us. A tom slowly followed them...I could hear Steve whisper "That's a good one. It's a shooter", and that got my heart pumping. It took another 20 minutes of calling and patience before he finally walked in range and stopped right in between the two trees that were breaking up my line of site. I laid the bead on him and squeezed the trigger and down he went. It was only about a half hour before dark so we drug the bird back in the trees and watched the rest of the turkeys fly into the trees to roost (a pretty comical sight).

The next day Steve shot his turkey. We were both happy campers and couldn't have asked for a better hunt. I don't get to spend as much time with Troy and Steve as I used too, and apart from the thrill of the birds in our sight, the best part of the weekend was spending time with them. Steve really went the extra mile to get us into the best spots. (His wife Megan was probably the best sport of all...she saved our bacon in one very important way...)

Amy was also great...when I got home she was very excited to see the tail feathers and the feet and listened to the whole story. She showed all the right excitement and it was fun to tell her all about it.

It was a good memory, hopefully it won't be six years before we can do it again.

Here are a few pictures.

Two Toms glaring at each other

Steve and his bird


Anonymous said...
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Amy said...

Has a man ever looked so good in camo?

melanie said...

Nice pics! Did you mention a Steve and Megan? That wouldn't be Steve and Megan Freestone would it?


Steve and Megan said...

We had so much fun! Can't wait until next time. Hopefully, Amy will be able to join us then!

Angela said...

Amy, Pat looks pretty good in camo...sorry Niel you're not the only one!
Pat is going to love the pictures.

Brooke said...

WOW! Sounds like you had fun! I think that it would be fun to camp and hang out with friends, but I know that I wouldn't be able to shoot at something living. I will hand over that job anyday. I am glad that you guys had a great time!!