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Struttin’ Time: The ‘agony of defeat’ can be fun


Melissa Blair and Steve Brewer posed for this photo recently after two days of hunting left them happy but without a wild turkey.

Melissa Blair and Steve Brewer posed for this photo recently after two days of hunting left them happy but without a wild turkey.

I hope you enjoy the picture accompanying this column. It was taken during the opening weekend of wild turkey season here in Kentucky. As you can see, there is no turkey with this picture because a turkey didn’t happen for us.

Your buddy Steve Brewer has gone out of town on a planned trip to turkey hunt in Kansas. He asked me, his trusty sidekick, to write this article in his absence. I hope I can live up to what Steve has been a part of for a while now.

Let me introduce myself to everyone who doesn’t know me. I’m Melissa Blair, Vice President of Wildlife Women and a friend of Steve and his family. I graduated high school with his daughter Nema and Steve grew up with my parents, Dr. Larry and Retia Jones. I was honored when I mentioned to Steve about wanting to hunt with him one day. I soon got a message saying, “be ready, on opening weekend we will hunt for turkeys.” I was not going to pass this opportunity up.

Steve was able to do some scouting before opening weekend and decided on the perfect place to hunt. We met up Friday evening, April 12, and enjoyed a little food and talked all about turkeys. We prepared for our first morning hunt by setting a time on when to meet, where to meet, and even what snacks to bring. We planned on staying until we got a turkey or until it was too late to get a turkey.

I met Steve at 6:00 the next morning with a Thermos full of coffee and all my hunting gear with a few snacks. We headed into the woods to where a hunting blind was waiting and we placed all our items inside that were needed for the day. Everything was placed strategically in our blind so we could have the perfect opportunity to take a turkey or eat a snack.

We sat there in the blind with coffee in our hands, looking out and watching the darkness lighten up. We heard the animals slowly awaken and move around. If you’ve never experienced anything like this, you need to. There is nothing any better and no other place to be any closer to God.

That Saturday morning was quiet. No gobbles, no activity all day until around 4 p.m. when a hen showed up about 10 yards from us. She was cutting, purring, and dancing until we all heard that Tom gobble from up high on the ridge. Once the gobbling started, that hen walked up the hill toward him, but she also let us know how upset she was when we started mocking her on the slate call. She got louder and her walking got faster as she was making her way up to the gobbler. I’ll have to say, watching that go down sure made my heart beat faster. There is nothing like the excitement of watching animals in the great outdoors. Soon after the hen gave us her show, we packed up and headed out before it got too late.

It’s now Sunday morning and I’m up and meeting Steve once more. Excited again for turkey season and feeling like it was going to be a better day. As we walk into the dark woods, we hear owls hooting and turkeys starting to gobble. As the turkey’s gobble, we both get more excited and feel like the day is going to be a better one. We get to our blind and set all our items around strategically again. The Toms are gobbling in four different areas around us and we can’t help but smile and feel our hearts beating faster. Once we know the turkeys have hit the ground, we fire up that trusty slate call. We call for hours and turkeys stay high on the ridge and gobble at us. Not one turkey made its way to us. Around noon it got quiet again. Steve and I sat there listening and waiting, but not one peep was made. Later that evening we packed everything up and carried it all out to the truck.

We came out of the woods and had our picture made together and called it the “Agony of Defeat.” Even though we didn’t harm any turkeys that weekend, we still enjoyed our time in the woods. In my years of hunting, I’ve learned that you’ll not always come out with a harvest. For me and my buddy Steve, we both agree that just being in the woods is the best part of hunting.

I’ll never claim to be any great hunter and in fact I’m always learning and growing as one. I’m always thankful for being part of Wildlife Women where I’m able to spread my love and passion to not only women but men and children also. Our organization is out to “Educate, Inspire, and Encourage” women to get into the outdoors and enjoy it. I love spreading the word about Wildlife Women and I’ll always love being in the outdoors. As for Steve and me, we have another weekend to try to bring home a Gobbler here in Kentucky. Until next time, wish us both luck!

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