What is your most memorable hunt? I have hunted for over forty years, and that’s a tough question to answer. After thinking about that question for a while, I thought it might be easier to have a top ten, not necessarily in any particular order.
Although there are so many more memorable hunts I have had throughout the years, these are the first ones that come to mind. Today I am thinking about a particular turkey hunt David Graham and I had. David is an excellent deer hunter and has several great deer on his wall to prove that. He has also shot a lot of duck and geese here in western Kentucky, as well as Texas and Canada, and he has pheasant hunted in South Dakota. Although we had deer hunted together for several years on leases dating back to 1991, he had never killed a turkey. One time we were both on a hunting lease in Crittenden County with a couple of our friends. We had our campers set up side by side, a place for a campfire, and all the comforts of home. I believe it was the first year that Crittenden County was open for a turkey season.
On opening morning, we left our campers while it was still pitch dark. While it was still dark, we heard a turkey gobbling in the distance, which is uncharacteristic; turkeys usually wait for daylight to start calling the ladies. I told David I thought I knew where that turkey was located, so we hopped into the truck and drove as far as we could and parked. Then we continued heading towards the turkey on foot. By the time we got within 150 yards of the turkey, it was just starting to get light. I told David to put his decoy out in the field about 10 yards and get set-up in the edge of the woods, and I would do the calling, and he could do the shooting. I waited a few minutes and started calling very softly. We heard the bird fly down, so I started cutting, and here he came on a string. The bird was almost in David’s lap when he fired, and he gave that big Longbeard a dirt nap! I got up and went over to congratulate David as he stood up. Then he began gathering his equipment on the ground, preparing to retrieve his bird. As he was still bent over, I said, “David! Don’t move.” In the field by the downed gobbler were seven jakes, so I raised my gun and shot one.
That hunt was what I call a textbook hunt – you could not have drawn it up any better. I think that is why I thought of it as one of my most memorable hunts. I told David, “Don’t expect your next bird to be that easy.” David has harvested several birds on his own since then, but we will never forget his first turkey hunt with me.
Hunting is not just about pulling the trigger yourself. Part of hunting is sharing it with a friend or relative, building relationships. I have been blessed to have been able to hunt with both of my sons, as well as several friends throughout the years. I hope you will have an opportunity to share a hunt with someone this year!