Latest News For Water Valley Lodge
Pia's Turkey Hunting Story (and She's Sticking To It! )
I went turkey hunting a few times this year after all of our hunters had had their way with our turkey(s) (or not! )
Anyway, each and every hunt was enjoyable. While none produced a dead turkey, there was one amusing thing or another that happened to make each hunt memorable.
I shan't bore you with all of my turkey hunting stories. I will tell you about my hunt on the last day of the season. I went out hunting with my friends Doug Shipp and his wife Jackie. Doug has guided for years for Bent Creek. His wife Jackie is a valuable asset in Mr. William's office. Both are considered dear family friends.
There were two birds in particular that I had had the pleasure of talking to in recent weeks. We started our hunt at the cross roads that lead to the Jonas Williams. I had been chasing this particular bird for almost a week and felt confident that given one more day, I'd for sure get him. After all, I'd made all the mistakes I could possibly make and had learned from each and every one of them. What other trick could this bird pull from his bag of tricks? And, I thought that having the experience of Doug, a well respected professional turkey caller, Jackie's hunting experience in general and my experiences with this bird in particular, this bad boy was in the bag! Anyway, we parked at the "turkey foot" right at day break and walked towards the crossroads. Actually, I had a hard time convincing Doug to head towards the crossroads. There were multiple turkeys gobbling all around us. We only heard 3 down the Jonas William's Crossroad but 10 or more from the other direction. I knew however, that without fail, my turkey would be smack dab in the middle of the crossroad opening in a full strut before 8 am, as he had been for weeks and weeks! Before we got to the last curve in the road we cut through the woods to the right and came out on the other side of the green gate on the road that leads to one of our clover fields. We set up so that we could see both the first curve and the crossroad opening where he so loves to strut his stuff. We let the air settle and then Doug began to call to him. He gobbled as big as you please. It's so exciting to hear them gobble! He responded to Doug's calls for a while but soon took the path of a disgruntled spouse. He gave us the silent treatment for twenty minutes or so. There were however still multiple voices to be heard from the main road. Not to mention the crows! They were telling the news in every corner of those woods. Sometimes you couldn't even hear Doug's calls or the turkey gobbles for the crows. Doug said at one time that it sounded more like a barnyard that a wooded turkey hunt. (That made me feel good ... really proud of this place we call Water Valley Lodge.) Each time we were about to give up on this old tom, he'd offer us a small carrot to keep us interested. We played his game for about another 2 hours and then decided that this was not to be the day that this particular turkey meet his maker.
As we walked back towards the truck, we heard multiple gobbles in the distance. I thought the ones closest to us to be on our neighbors property. Feeling as I do about poachers/poaching/ I was unwilling to commit to hunt the questionable ones. I preferred to hunt a tract that was Water Valley Lodge for 1000's of acres, near Granddaddy's camp. Doug suggested, that perhaps on our way out to Granddaddy's, we should check out the first clover field off the main road, the field where the second bird that had been pulling my strings had been hanging out. And so we did.
We started down the road and was about to round the curve when Doug gave out a little yelp. POW! There he was. We were all but on top of him! We quickly retreated and made our way back to a good spot to set up. I was sitting with my back to a tall pine tree. Jackie was to my right, about 10 feet away. DOug set up bahind me about 15 feet. I was so excited that I could hear my heart pounding in my head. I took a deep breath and then another. My heart rate slowly calmed down and I could then hear Doug calling to this tom. He answered as powerfully as the first time. He sounded as if he was just around the bend. All he had to do was come around the curve and walk forward about 30 feet...just up to the small hardwood tree...then he'd be within shot distance. Doug said, wait until he gets to the tree, then shoot him. And so it began. Doug called, the turkey answered...time and time again....but he was not in a hurry to come and check out this new chick on the block...he took his sweet time.....and I began to get sleepy...and my arm began to get tired.....and various poarts of my body fell sound asleep....all the while, Doug called and the turkey answered....but he just didn't seem to want to come any closer. We were just about to give it up when in the distance we could see his big ole blue head...and oh my goodness, was he beautiful.....his head was a brilliant red, white and blue ... the moment I saw him I wondered why the Eastern turkey wasn't our national bird.....
Anyway, there he was, way out of shot distance but I could see him. He was HUGE! And his feathers were so black they looked white as the sunlight reflected off them....Never had I seen such a big bird...nor a more cautious bird.....he took his sweet time taking every step he took that morning. One step forward and two steps backwards...then he'd strut.....and then another inch....(at best...) one slow inch at a time, he came closer.....and finally he was approaching the tree...the magic tree...the one where I needed him to be before he was within range.....about 10' behind the tree, Jackie started saying, "Pia, take him"! Yet I waited for him to get to the mark....And then DOug started in as well, " Shoot him! " he whispered from behind....So I took aim as he came a little closer. I was determined to wait as long as I could so he'd be close enough to make the shot.....And finally...finally...he made it to within a foot or so of the tree.....I slowly, carefully, pulled the trigger on my Beneli.....and just as I did, the darned bird tripped on his beard and fell to the ground. As he fell, the shot went right over his head. When he recovered his footing, he retreated to the woods. And there he remains....until next time.
That's my story...and I'm stickin' to it. "crack
Back to News