Whitesburg KY

Struttin’ Time:

Stay awake where the ‘big cats’ roam

I keep laughing so hard about our hunting trip out West that I have just about sent myself over the edge.

It is now Day Two in the lodge. It is 4 a.m., time to rise and shine. The cook hollers just once, “Breakfast is ready.” Of course it’s a special one for our buddy Carl. Remember, he is on the Adkins Diet.

Carl’s fall into the canyon seems not to have harmed him, so as soon as breakfast is finished, it is off to the blinds. About half a mile from the lodge we watch as a half-grown mountain lion crosses in front of us. “Now there is one reason you don’t want to fall asleep,” I told Carl. “They will eat you in a heartbeat.”

We hadn’t gone far before Carl saw what I was talking about — a half-eaten calf beside the trail; the big cats had downed it during the night. “Don’t go to sleep,” I warned again before dropping Carl off at his spot. I told him I would be back around 11 for lunch, never really thinking I would, because of the amount of turkeys I had already seen. I was for sure we would tag out way before then.

As the sun rose things started heading south. The temperature started rising, and within a short while, was almost 70 degrees, and by 10 it was almost 80. Not good for turkey hunting. With no gobbling, I headed back to the truck, and what a surprise: Carl was in the truck, asleep I think, although he said not. I asked him what was going on. He said he got to thinking about the dead calf and the live cat we had seen and thought it best that he hunt from the truck. What? More than 1,800 miles from home and you hunt from the truck?

That was the end of second morning hunt; that evening was a different story.

By the second night, the ever-blowing winds of Wyoming had cooled everything down to about 70 degrees. I had found an old trappers cabin that would protect me from the wind and crawled inside. It wasn’t long before I had a nice group of long beards coming to my calls. My heart was racing as they got closer, but things don’t always go as planned. As the old saying goes in turkey hunting, “Roosted ain’t roasted.” They came into my calls, but I didn’t see a hen. I had not set up a decoy because of the wind. They started to skirt my call, so I needed to make a fast judgment.

I shot at one from about 45 yards. The crosswinds carried my shot well off the target, and then something else happened — my trusted Mossberg 9200 automatic jammed for only the second time since I bought it in 1982. (Mental note: They need to be cleaned at least every 10 years.)

I then had to watch as eight giant Merriam wild turkeys walked away. My hunt for this day was over, so it started back to the lodge. I got to the truck and there was Carl sitting with his back against the truck, still afraid to wander far from what he thought of as safety. He was the one who was trying to get a “Slam” not me. I have probably 20.

Now back at the lodge, our third and final day of hunting Wyoming will come tomorrow morning as we need to head for Kansas by midday tomorrow.

Time is getting short. But remember, things happen fast in the woods. See you next week as we hunt Merriam turkeys with Carl.

Leave a Reply