Where did the first third of 2012 go? It seems like yesterday we were getting wired up for this year’s wild turkey hunts. But that was yesterday, and now yesterday is gone.
What a hunt we had this year, beginning in Florida in March and ending in Wyoming in April. Other than hunting around home with some lifelong friends the season has ground down. I would be out of my mind (which some folks already say that I am) if I didn’t share some of the highlights of our travels.
There are always parts we share that I hope touches someone else. The part that I hope you’ll remember from this year’s hunt is not about the number of turkeys I got (by the way, another “Slam” is in the works), but about a couple of young people that allowed me to hunt on their ranch in Wyoming. They are Don and Carol Ballard of Upton, Wyoming. Any of my friends looking for a mule deer or Merriam turkey can’t go wrong with these people.
As usual, I never know what kind of people I will meet on a hunt and Don and Carol were no exception. I could tell over the telephone that something about these two seemed so refreshing, and that is unusual. Don told me he didn’t want me to waste my time and money to hunt with him if he didn’t see any turkey, although he always had plenty.
Most people just tell you sure, just come on out. Not Don. He was on the phone giving me turkey reports almost weekly. When I arrived I was greeted by a young couple in their early thirty’s. Most outfitters are much older. Don put me in his truck and showed me around his ranch, which sits at around what I would guess 5,000 feet. What a view. The pride showed from the way Don spoke of his love for his wife and his ranch. There are no neighbors for probably five miles, and ladies, not a place to shop for a hundred.
In my life I’ve found very few, if any, young people willing to move to one of the harshest places on earth, where the winter months stay well below zero, to live their dreams. Don and Carol not only live their dreams together in a world of peace and love for each other, but one free of the drugs, problems, and greed that is making our world go crazier each day.
We became friends within the first few minutes, and I hope we remain friends for a lifetime. I also hope the harsh world in which they seek to live doesn’t devour them like a bear eating Fuji apples.
It’s good to be back home to my longtime friends. Maybe Ben Gish will run a picture or two of our hunts. Next week we will talk about some local hunters like my friend James Johnson, who killed a turkey with an 11-1/2 beard earlier in this season, which ends here Sunday (May 6).