Monday, August 31, 2009

HUNTING - GIRLS CAN PLAY TOO!


My niece (Baleigh) is, by most measures, a girly-girl. She's pretty, a snappy dresser, active in school, church, and 4-H, and is involved in a number of sports. But she also knows how to get serious about shooting stuff, and her stone cold demeanor when she's aiming down the barrel at a would-be target is amazing. Boys at school don't know if they should pursue her for her looks or loathe her because she's a better hunter than they are! Either way, it was my pleasure to be there when she killed her first and second turkeys, and her first deer.

This video is of Baleigh killing her second longbeard. In 2008 she shot her first, in what was probably the most memorable hunt I've ever been on. While the 2008 tom surrendered on opening day, getting a 2009 bird proved not to be nearly as easy. This video, taken on the very last day of Indiana's 2009 general season (Mother's Day) shows that perseverance can pay off!

What the video doesn't show is my sleeping niece, worn out from an all night church or school function the night before - I don't remember which. What I do remember is waking my niece up just in time to have her get her gun pointed out the window of the blind. As the video shows, when Baleigh takes aim, things get serious in a hurry. It's a short video, but remember, we had to be back home in time for a little Mother's Day lunch!

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Hide Where You Can!

This past spring, my good friend Andy located a particularly wary longbeard near his home town of Pulaski, in Giles County, Tennessee. The only problem was this tom preferred the neighbor's cattle pasture to the overgrown field Andy had permission to hunt. After trying unsuccessfully a number of times to get this bird to leave his favorite cow-cropped strutting spot, Andy broke down and called the guy that owned that little slice of turkey Heaven.

With new-found permission, Andy offered to let me kill the bird while I was there on vacation, but only if I'd agree to hunt from this old calf creep feeder located in the bottom of the pasture. Andy didn't feel this bird would tolerate a pop-up blind in his spot!

Not being one to argue over details when there's a turkey to be killed, I gladly accepted. So WAY before sun-up, we snuck in, stuck out decoys, cleared privet, and crammed ourselves into the rusty confines of that old feeder. It wasn't comfortable, but it did put us right in the sweet spot.  As the video shows, sometimes hiding out in unusual places can really pay off. Thanks Andy!

And as an interesting aside, the ridgetop you see in the video was held by the Union Army during the Civil War. Cannon emplacements were located there to protect the main east-west road into Pulaski. I wonder what the turkeys thought of cannon fire?.............


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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Clearing the Cobwebs

It's amazing how much you can forget about turkey hunting from the end of one spring to the beginning of the next. Especially where calling is concerned, I usually find that winter weather has caused a little rust to accumulate on my turkey hunting abilities!
So as spring approaches, I do my best to get in the woods, not only to hear what my admittedly limited calling skills sound like without a roof over my head, but also to start reconnecting with my hibernating hunting instincts.

When Indiana's turkey season opened up on April 22, I was still clearing out the cobwebs and feeling a little unsure of my decisions when this 2-year old longbeared snuck into my full-mount decoy spread. After letting him bully my tom decoy for nearly 9 minutes, I decided to pull the trigger and end his day - and my Indiana turkey season! Boy does it feel good to get that first one under your belt each year!


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