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April 28, 2011

Outdoor Corner

by Chris Feeney

There is something to be said about filling your tag early on opening morning. Unfortunately for this sleep deprived hunter, that's not been the case at my house. I've already surpassed my total number of turkey hunts from last year, and I've not even started chasing my own bird.

Not that I'm complaining, as right now I have no desire to bag a bird personally, well outside of some pent up animosity at the wary fowl that has me mad enough to want to throw some lead at them for their treatment of fledgling flock of hunters.

Katie Grace is the only one who hasn't minded our rough start to 2011. As the lone member of the clan with a turkey fan hanging in her bedroom, she has patiently been waiting in the bullpen to get her call to come into the game.

The other two sisters have been burning up the woods in their quests to match their sister's 2010 harvest.

Abigail, the oldest, came the closest. After striking out during youth season, she finally pulled the trigger on Thursday morning. Unfortunately she was left with a handful of feathers and some heartburn, as the gobbler escaped to haunt us another day.

Hannah has yet to fire a round in the direction of a bird. We woke her up to offer a chance at a trio of jakes that were trying to introduce themselves to our decoy. She had one in her sights, but after questioning whether any of them were bigger than the one her sister bagged, she declined to shoot when she learned they would not give her the one up on big sis.

That "patience" nearly paid off that evening of the youth season (yes you can hunt all day during the two-day special season). We had a huge Tom turkey serenade us for some time. He paced back and forth at about fifty yards, teasing us with false starts to the front and then to the back of our blind.

As I switched seats around to the front, then the back, and then back and forth again, I scolded the bird, telling him I wished he would make up his mind where he was going. Whitey didn't bat an eye as she informed me she knew exactly where that gobbler was going, he was going on her wall.

The confidence never came into play, as she had to settle for practicing sighting in on the decoy since the gobbler apparently had no desire to become a home decoration.

Abi gets the trooper award, since she's been out six times already as we enter week two of the three week regular spring turkey season. Spring Break fell perfectly for her hunting schedule.

We've been hunting from a blind, set up in a variety of scenery. I'm still not sure it's not our problem, however plenty of other hunters have bagged birds from behind similar curtains.

Regardless of my trepidation for the camouflage big top under which we sit, I'm pretty certain there's no hope of a blind-less hunt at this point.

That would mean leaving behind our chairs, video-taping equipment, spare shotguns (one for short distance one for long distance), three-course snack bags, video games and accessories and the kitchen sink.

I have to admit, standing outside looking in, I'm not certain what the birds might see to spook them? Of course, if they aren't deaf we might have a noise problem instead.

I'm pretty sure my fellow hunters could have awakened me from a sound sleep even if I had remained snug in bed at home the other morning. Okay, so I don't like noise to start with, so I might be a tad touchy when it comes to turkey hunting. Being able to hear the birds is critical. For me that is hard to do over constant fidgeting, rustling of food packaging and gurgling of drinks that would make great sound effects for mouth wash commercials.

I suspect my frustration with the birds on the outside of the tent may be trying my patience with the turkeys on the inside.


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