Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Shot of the century

By Mac Arnold
MAHFS Editor

This is a quick update for anyone wanting to know of my exploits over the past week or so.

After the flame on the early goose season went out without more than a mere flicker on Sept. 11, which was a hunt in tribute to all who perished that day in New York 10 years ago, I moved on to the glorious fall turkey season. It opened Sept. 15.

And I had action. And fun.

Unfortunately, because of the time schedule I now have to meet -- and that's putting the kids on the bus in the morning most days -- I wasn't able to be set up before first light.

The birds were milling about in a different area than usual at Dairy Farmer Dave's in Michigan's thumb region.

I saw them as I was walking in under a bluebird sky from the scalped wheat field. They made me and skulked into the woods. I got up after a brief standoff in which I thought I might get a shot at one while they were regrouping in between the trunks and ankle-high grass.

They had already moved on, so I did too. As I approached from the south, there was a new corn planting at Dave's with a grassy field in between the woods and corn stalks. This is now one of their favorite early morning gathering spots.

The shot of the century as this is aptly titled came from me ripping off a round while they scattered after a large hen gave the alert. I saw her at the last moment as I walked a trail near the corner of the woods and we both startled one another. She was standing guard majestically on top of a large dirt pile not even 15 yards from me. (I'm likely going to have visions of that shot with her neck jutting straight out for the rest of the season.)

While they dashed along the corn rows I picked out one and fired but hitting a turkey running at full-tilt 40 yards away ... well, it just isn't gonna happen.

Unless it was the shot of the century, which was what I muttered under my breath as I followed up to see if I did indeed hit one.

I did not.

But the blast did send them everywhere as you would like during fall because they are easily susceptible to calls if they get split up. This is because they want to get back together in their flock. Comfort comes in numbers for turkeys at this time of year.

Anyway, I set up in the other woods on the west side of the corn -- which was where I wanted to be in the first place -- and did exactly that: called in a nice hen. But she out-waited me behind a tree and I had to ease the gun down. I wasn't sure if the bird was even still there. Then she got skittish and started moving away from me. I tried to weave a shot in between the trees at the bird, but apparently didn't get enough firepower on her.

Miss No. 2 but I was getting plenty of opportunities for it being the first day of the season and all.

Later, another turkey appeared and thinking it was nice enough because its head cleared the weeds in front me, I fired and dropped it.

Let's just say it wasn't the biggest one out there, not by a long shot, but it was a turkey.

And I'm now resigned to wait until I can do a first-light hunt so I can be waiting and ready the next time.


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