The Perfect Season

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Published on: Apr. 2, 2004

Last revision: Nov. 16, 2010

converted to a hunting cabin. Deer antlers adorned the fireplace mantel. A broken, blood-streaked arrow and a variety of rifle cartridges littered a tabletop. The living room and kitchen/dining room are long and narrow. Wayne has an archery target at one end of the kitchen and actually shoots his bow inside the house. There is a woodstove in the kitchen. The bedrooms simply have mattresses on floors. It's not a place where you worry about having a little bit of mud on your boots when come in from the woods.

My experience as a turkey hunter is quite checkered. I once called up a bird, but when I lifted my gun, the bird saw the movement and disappeared in a heartbeat. Other times I had called up hens. Once, with Wayne, I had been tense as we set up on a bird that seemed to be gobbling non-stop. I was wired, and after long moments of straining to see movement in the woods, my thumb hovering over the safety in my gun, I was deflated when the bird finally shut up and moved away from us.

Later, as we walked down a lane in the woods, a bird gobbled about 200 yards to our right. We found a large tree and settled at its base, Wayne on one side and I on the other. He called, but the bird did not respond. Moments later I felt something on my boot then realized Wayne was kicking me. I pulled myself up on my elbows to see his side of the tree and there, standing 15 yards in front of us, was a large gobbler. He had come in without making a sound, and was looking for the hen he thought he'd heard. By the time I raised my gun, the bird was gone. Had Wayne not deferred to me, he could have easily put his tag on that gobbler.

I had left a light on in the kitchen. The next thing I knew, Wayne was telling me it was time to get up. I looked outside; it was still pitch black. My watch said 4:30. He said he had come in at midnight. I had been asleep and had not heard him. I sat up on the edge of the bed and dug a camouflage outfit out of my bag. We had chilled thermos coffee and a cinnamon roll for breakfast. Soon we were

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