Whitesburg KY

Struttin’ Time

What I meant by ‘rookie mistakes’

What I’m going to write and what I thought I would write for this week’s Struttin’ Time are miles apart.

Several of the readers have asked me to explain what I meant a few weeks ago about my making rookie mistakes and not getting my “grand slam” of wild turkey hunting. I was hoping to slide by on that one, but I have had a change of heart. So here goes:

I had a feeling I was going to have a rough time getting my Eastern turkey, not because the turkeys weren’t around but because of my stupid mistakes. It rained on opening day of season, but I was in the woods and called three longbeards within about 75 yards. They froze up because two of my decoys had blown over in the wind, and I just let them lay.

On day two there was no rain, but when I went to the place I usually hunt I decided to move across the field and set up on the other side. I went to the tree I was going to sit against, left my gun and backpack there, set up my decoys and returned to my tree. I thought it started raining on me when something started falling through the leaves, but it was turkey poop, which I noticed in a heartbeat after it splattered on my glasses. I was under the tree where the longbeard was roosted — not a good place to be right before daylight. I shined my light upward and the turkey exited stage left. No other turkey sightings that day.

On day three a coyote attacked my decoys just after daylight. I had to shoot the coyote, which put and end to all gobbling after the turkeys heard the shot. Knowing that I had to move the dead coyote away from my set up, I had just had gotten hold of its leg to sling it when I saw a gobbler within 20 yards looking at me. Goodbye longbeard. As if I hadn’t had enough bad luck already, I walked two miles to the top of a mountain, almost straight up, and shined my light on what looked to be a nice flat rock. I sat down to rest, but what I didn’t know was that it wasn’t a rock, but a cow patty. I even put my hand in it before I realized what was happening.

Back down the mountain I went to my truck to change clothes and, of course, wash my hands. I then walked back to the top of the mountain, just in time to see another hunter sit down in the same spot where I had planned to hunt. Back down the hill I went. Some days it just doesn’t pay to get up.

So those were the rookie mistakes I mentioned earlier. Next week we will move on. Until then, please look before you sit in the woods. There’s no telling what might be under you.

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