The Perfect Season

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Published on: Apr. 2, 2004

Last revision: Nov. 16, 2010

in the truck, driving to a part of his woods where he had heard two birds gobbling the previous morning.

Wayne says it is turkey time when the cardinals start calling just before sunrise. He has killed a number of deer and turkey here with both bow and gun. He has tree stands throughout the woods, and a camouflaged blind that he uses when hunting turkeys with a longbow. He has this property because he once stopped to help a man change a flat tire, but that's another story.

He parked the truck, and we walked across corn stubble and down a grassy field to a point of timber. I heard a satisfying "thunk" as I dropped two shells into the barrels of my gun. I gently closed it and made sure the safety was on. A whippoorwill called two or three times, then went silent. By the time we had walked 100 yards into the timber, the cardinals were calling.

It was turkey time.

The woods were beginning to lighten as we stood at the top of a ridge. April is an amazing time to be outside. The air is sweet and cool, the woods are greening up and warblers are singing their hearts out high in the trees. We soon heard gobbling turkeys, but most were distant. Wayne does an excellent imitation of a barred owl with his voice, and he began hooting to lure a turkey into gobbling.

We stood still, wondering whether to stay or go as we listened for a bird close enough to work. Finally, a bird gobbled not far away. After a moment he gobbled again. Wayne pointed in that direction, and we slowly began walking. We came to an old woodland lane. Wayne looked around, then he pointed out a spot where we could sit. He thought the bird would come to us on that lane. I sat with my back against a tree. I am left-handed, and my gun would be pointed just where it needed to be.

I'm struggling to learn to use a turkey call, but when I'm with my brother-in-law, I leave it in my pocket. Wayne made soft turkey sounds with a slate-andpeg call, alternating quiet purrs with light yelping. Our gobbler answered from his tree. Wayne continued to call, but the bird seemed stuck in the tree. Suddenly Wayne began cackling on a mouth call while slapping his arm with a gloved

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