2018 was a bust year. I failed to journal any hunts….Maybe it was for the best. This past year, my Garrett who is 12 has taken quite an interest in hunting and fishing…duck hunting, pheasant hunting, turkey hunting, except I don’t think he likes deer hunting as much….kind of like his daddy! The fall and winter of 2018/19 involved several duck hunts and deer hunts. Garrett’s Uncle Matt and I took him duck hunting a couple of times and then I took him on a Continental Pheasant shoot near Centertown Missouri in February 2019. He shot a hen pheasant. I think he’s hook on wing shooting!!!
In early April, Garrett’s uncle took us to a new place to turkey hunt near Garden City, Missouri. The land is owned by Stan and his wife Juanita who come for a long family history in the area of farming and the Mennonite Church. Matt worked for them at their cabinet shop in the mid 1990’s to probably 2001 I think. He stayed in touch with them through the years. In sum total, there are about 300 acres of timber and fields to hunt. This family apparently had an overabundance of turkeys eating their garden cabbage and lettuce, so Juanita wanted the population thinned.
We arrived on opening day of youth turkey season. My brother napped in his truck until it was time to head to the woods. We heard a dominant gobbler sound off at 6:10 and off to the northwest a few more gobblers from a different bird. Having set up on cedar lined fence row with the dominant gobbler to our back, big mistake, we both called periodically. The bird gobbled on the roost for a solid 35 or 40 minutes, then silence. We heard some hen clucks and yelps about 7:30. At 8:00 Matt started calling again and the gobbler fired off on the ground about 100 yards behind us. Matt started purring constantly and the gobbler just kept rattling off. Pretty soon he appears about 20 yards to our right and I turned my head a little and whispered to Garrett that there was a turkey. Less than ten seconds later, the gobbler turned right back the direction he came from and gobbled 300 or 400 yards to the east. It was the last we saw of him. We picked up our gear, walked to Stan and Juanita’s house. Stan pulled up in his minty GMC 2500 quad cab four wheel drive and got out and waited for us to finish the walk. I introduced myself and Garrett. Matt and Stanley shook hands. We visited for a while and Stan talked about the crop damage loss from the deer over the winter due to wet field conditions and no running combine. As we departed, we observed six or seven strutting toms south of his farm and likely the same bird(s) we heard early in the morning. If we had been facing the cedars and looking through the fence, Garrett might have had a shot at the tom, or could I have moved a little too much when I whispered in Garrett’s ear? Or would a decoy have enticed him to make another 20 yards for a shot. Who knows? That is turkey hunting, so many infinite variables and situations. It keeps you coming back for a slice of humble pie each and every time!!