Monday, May 12, 2008

Season is under way

May 5 was the opener for my Michigan spring gobbler season, and I was plenty geeked and in the woods that day.

Slipped into action in the dreary, gray first light along the edge of a wheatfield with my usual partner, Walt, at the Dansville spot.

We threw on our garb outside the vehicles in moderate time beforehand, not even hurrying since a couple of owl hoots produced zero gobbles from the surrounding woods.

But then we heard one hammer to the north and away we lock-stepped through the wet blades of reedy grass to the wheatfield fenceline.

The bird answered my H.S. Strut raspy hen calls but remained fixed on the other side of the grassy knoll in between us. At about 7:30 a.m., Walt spied a hen along the opposite side of the rolling wheatfield in a bottom but she kept going, cresting the north hill and continuing on to the other side.

That was the extent of our action on the morning sit. Walt then departed for work and left me to defend for myself.

I moved around three times later in the morning, flushing three birds in the process, eventually settling in at the knoll in back of the property. It's a good spot. It sits above a swamp straddling between two working grain fields. I shot my last gobbler there two years ago.

A hen caught me snoozing at 2:30 p.m., coming nearly within 10 yards of me. I caught her on tape. So I figured if I was able to get a videocamera on her, I certaintly could have swapped the videocamera for a shotgun if she was actually a he, or followed by a he.

The majority of my kills come that way. Must be because I'm perfectly still while napping, and they don't pick up any movement that's alarming to them.

Speaking of the videocamera, that's pretty much been the focus of the last two hunts since the opener by my house. Going out with my 4-year-old son Zac and capturing him on tape. He's a natural. Great woodsman already. I even told him so after the last gig, although he didn't have kind words for me when he fell over in a puddle and soaked his pantleg.

The praise I gave him once he caught up left him beaming. Must be something about what the child psychology experts say about positive reinforcement because he stopped complaining about the splash and wanted me to get in the kitchen and cook hashbrowns.

Once upon a time that river sit was hot. My take on what happened is it has to do with all the coyote howling I've heard the past two winters. The dogs moved in and there went the neighborhood.

And in seasons past -- where I'd have already been out at least 10 times or more by May 12 -- it's hard to believe I've really only been out once. The two times with Zackie ... well, kinda count but not really. He has an attention span of one half hour, after that, he's all about chucking sticks into the water.

The few times out is part of the process of getting the boy involved and the high price of gas.

Which is why the upcoming weekend of hunts May 17 and 18 is crucial.

Seems like the best chance to score.

I will be truckpooling with "Double-Bagger" John. So it's come to this: truckpooling. Not that there's anything wrong with the company. Just that with gas the way it is these days it's cut into hunting. No wonder the leftists are said to relish the gouging.

A geeked turkey hunter has to do what he has to do.

(The delayed 2008 turkey primer is up and running at