There’s nothing better than climbing to the top of a ridge and watching a beautiful sunrise come up as the woods come alive. From the top you can see rolling hills and hollows in every direction. The fragrant blooms not only smell delightful but add an array of color to the 20 shades of green our landscape is displaying right now.
I just love spring and being in the outdoors to take it all in. I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Last week was the perfect example of why I set my alarm extra early this time of year. After talking to Ralph the evening before a plan was set for the mornings hunt.
Ralph is who introduce me to hunting many years ago when I was just a young pup. He is one of the best turkey hunters I know and I always look forward to hitting the woods with him. After meeting Ralph well before daybreak we arrived to the ridgetop just before the sun started to rise.
It was a calm perfect morning for a spring gobbler hunt. I also like going with Ralph because he does all the calling and is good at it. He doesn’t even use a mouth call as he can imitate a hen with his own voice. We decided to ease in and listen for a gobbler to sound off but it was silent at first.
We continued along before reaching the field edge. Ralph let out a few soft clucks and was immediately answered by a real hen and she was close. So close that we saw her perched on a limb still on the roost. She wasn’t 60 yards away. The big ole hen was not happy with our presence as she started cutting and yelping.
We couldn’t ask for a better setup as we let her do all the talking hoping to fire a gobbler up. It didn’t take long before we heard the first gobble but it was muffled and came from down in the hollow. Ralph and I remained still as the hen continued to let everyone know where she was at.
The sun had already come up over the ridge and we figured she was getting ready to fly down any second but she stayed in the tree. The gobbler in the hollow roared out again as the hen took a break. Ralph let out a few soft clucks to get the hen talking again. She sounded really good as there’s nothing better than the real thing.
Ralph whispered “there’s no way any gobbler in the area can resist that” and he was right. All of a sudden our hats about got blown off as two gobblers sounded off simultaneously real close. I dropped to a knee beside a tree as we were pinned down by that hen.
It was kind of thick with autumn olive in the direction the gobblers were at. They weren’t 80 yards away. I scanned the woods back and forth waiting to see a red head. About that time they gobbled again but they had moved to the left. “They’re going to pop out right in that corner” Ralph said as we quickly repositioned.
I moved around the tree and sat down but there was a dead branch in the way. “Get that branch out of the way” Ralph said. I tried to move it but I was going to make too much noise. In a split second decision, I grabbed the branch and pushed it to the ground as I threw my left leg over it to hold it down.
Ralph clucked and the gobblers replied just out of sight. I clicked my safety off as the first bird popped out right where Ralph said they would. “There he is” Ralph whispered as two more were right behind it. I wasted no time as I had to swing my gun a little to the left.
The birds caught my movement and started to head back over the hill but they weren’t quite fast enough. I drew a bead on the second gobbler and pulled the trigger. I jumped up and chased the flopping bird over the hill ending a text book hunt.
After a few high fives I took a moment to thank the good lord above and to thank Ralph. That man has taught me everything I know about turkey hunting and took the time to introduce me to the great pastime we’re both so passionate about. I still remember our first turkey hunt together almost 25 years ago. I’m grateful to have such a great mentor and I cherish every hunt more and more these days.
I know neither one of us will ever forget that morning as I’m still replaying it all in my head. There’s a week left to hit the woods and chase these magnificent birds around. Spring gobbler season ends on May 14. Good luck and stay safe if you venture out.