I absolutely love to shock gobble turkeys on the roost with an owl hoot. In the fading day light or in the gray predawn light, getting a hard gobble from several long owl hoots send chills down my spine and spikes my adrenaline level. The best owl hoot that we ever had was a hand carved wooden call that produced the perfect most succulent and convincing notes, better than any locater call on the market today. Unfortunately that call met its fate when my six month old black lab murphy decided he wanted something to chew on while riding in the back of my dad Suburban. We tried different plastic model owl hoots but none could hit that same pure note or get the volume and distance either. High upon on of the camp ridges when I was 12 or 13 dad taught me how to use my hands to create the long loud notes of an owl to locate gobblers. Since then, I have had countless success roosting and locating thunder chickens There are many locators out on the market but if your anything like me, a penny pinching outdoorsman and also a full time student, this method of using your hands is the perfect solution. With a little practice you too can be getting gobblers to fatally give away their position.
Keep Pushing the Wild Limits,
I love going to the woods just to find a place of solitude to let me soul be cleansed. Many times while walking I let my internal compass take over and point me in whatever direction. This has lead to me to some interesting sights and situations that only outdoors men and women can appreciate. Often times when people see that I am going to the woods, they automatically think that my goal is to kill something. yes, there is a time and a place for chasing game,but i think the one thing that other people don’t understand is the concept of listening. In today’s society its hard to find anyone that understands listening, everyone needs to be te first one to speak and have their loud opinion projected. As outdoors men, we don’t always go tot he wild to kill, and as other outdoors men will understand, its about the silent cleansing and refreshing of the soul while looking and listening tot eh sights and sounds of creation. Sunday evening march 25, 2012 I sat on a ledge over looking a small valley. Just listening to the peepers and the owls, breathing the crisp air in the fading day light reminded me of why I love the wild so much. How often do we just go to listen, not enough thats for sure.
Saturday night on the way back to school from a difficult few days of baseball, I was invited by a few girls to accompany their group of friends the next day (Sunday) to hike around one of the local state parks. I decided to be social instead of secluded and solo and decided to go hiking. Letchworth State Park is known as the Grand Canyon of the east and is one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen. With its many waterfalls and steep rocky cliffs, it is just as pretty as any of the sights in the west and is in my home state. Being Sunday afternoon our caravan of two didn’t really have any exact plans on where we were going to end up. Fortunately I was the lead car saw a sign that said “trout pond ahead.” Without asking the opinion of anyone I took a sharp left turn and soon pulled up to the small pond. I had to keep reminding myself to be social first and hang out with people before getting my fly rod out of the trunk. As everyone piled out of the cars and began to throw Frisbees and footballs around, I made a bee line for the pond and sure enough spotted an multitude of fish swimming by. Sun fish, large mouth bass and trout swam by within easy casting distance of my fly rod. I tried to grab my gear real quick but the group wanted to hike. After walking down a few trails I ended up back at the pond talking with a few people already casting spinners off the shore. According to them, they had seen several trout that measured over the 20 in mark. Although this is a stocked pond I still could help but want to hook into one my #5 weight Sage. I tried to interact as best as possible but my eyes kept going back to the water. I couldn’t resist it any longer and grabbed my rod. Casting a Copper Johns Green Weinne into the depths of the pond and stripping it back to the shore, it caught the eye of a five inch largemouth bass. Watching the small fish change directions on a dime and a perfectly timed set had the small fish flipping around on the ground in front of me in a matter of seconds. One of the girls squealed as I grabbed the small fish by the lip, unhooked it, gave it a Jimmy Houston and tossed it back in the pond. For an impromptu little attempt not bad. First fish of 2012, can only get bigger from here.
Oops Button Bucks
I think we doomed ourselves from the get go when we agreed to shoot does only that morning. My father and our friend Dave made a pact that they would only shoot does and no button bucks. Dad and I climbed into what is called the number four stand on a very cold final day of the 2000 archery season. I was only eight years old but refused to let the opportunity of a morning hunt go by. I had never been on a successful deer hunt before and wasn’t sure if this morning would be any different. Since this was a morning hunt it made me a bit more skeptical about the chances of seeing deer. Most of the hunts I had been on were evening hunts where it seemed like a guarantee that deer would be moving on this small sixty acre plot of land behind a suburban settlement. The morning was cold and over cast and frosty, starting slow until about eight o’clock. Briefly I caught a glimpse of a deer’s hind end disappearing into the goldenrod field in front of the stand. Tapping Dad on the arm I told him I saw one, he didn’t believe me. I replayed the split second scene over and over in my mind, I was confident in what I had seen. Minutes later a shooter doe crossed the field in front of us. This sent my heart racing even though I knew full well she was out of bow range. Dad pulled out an interchangeable deer call and used the doe call, not even a look. I thought the morning was over till Dave radioed us saying he arrowed a deer and two other deer were headed our way. Like a miracle the other two deer broke the golden rod running on a line for our stand. With a quick mouth grunt dad stopped the two deer directly under the stand presenting Dad with one of the toughest shots a bow hunter could ask for. Although the angle was difficult, he made it look easy as his old Martin bow sending an aluminum meat missile through the rib cage on the small deer slicing the liver and one lung and After a quick sprint the deer laid down. My eyes were wide as saucers; I was trembling like a leaf as I looked at dad and what did dad say in this moment of our first kill together as I felt like I was on top of the world , “ Bingo…I really hope it’s not a button buck.”
I had grown up watching all the Realtree and Primos hunting videos and didn’t realize that there was time between the shot and the recovery that the camera was not rolling. After descending the stand, I immediately started making a line for the deer which was still in the process of expiring. Dad held me back and explained that we needed to give the animal time. This concept was new and puzzling, it took me a few seconds to figure it out. “That’s not how they do it in the videos though” I said, Dad just laughed and smiled. After regrouping with Dave and finding out that he had shot a button buck, we approached the second downed deer and sure enough, it was a darn button buck. I remember we all just had a good laugh about the hilarity of the situation. I didn’t care as much as the older guys, I was ecstatic this was one of the most special moments I ever shared with my dad, and at eight years old, I felt like a man. Finally, after several long years of tagging along with Dad, a plan finally came together and I witnessed this mystical seeming compilation of events that is a successful bow hunt.