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Sweet sounds of nature make up for hunt

Saturday was the first chance I had to try out my new turkey license. My season had been open for three days, but with work and other such annoyances, I had not had a chance to hunt.

I had prepared unusually well the night before. I set up my blind, complete with chair, and even left my decoys inside. When the alarm went off at 4:30 in the morning, I knew where my pants, gun and even truck keys were located. It is hard to beat a good plan when it works.

I made coffee and left quietly with everything I needed for a successful hunt. I did not sneak out because my wife did not know I was hunting, but quite the contrary. She knew I would be rising to leave during the best sleeping hours of the night and wanted no part of it. After years of experience, I have learned it is best not to discuss the excitement of the upcoming hunt with one's wife during the wee hours of the morning. The conversation can turn suddenly nasty, right after, "Good Morning, I am going hunting now."

I parked in the pasture and walked the trail to my hunting blind. In the darkness, I only stumbled through one rose bush. If there is anything that will wake a person up in the morning, it is trying to get untangled from the thorns of a multi-flora rose.

By the time I got to the blind, the least bit of light was appearing in the east. Within minutes, the gobbling started. The closest gobbler was no more than 200 yards away and they ranged out from there. The chorus sounded from high up in the oak trees that lined the creek flowing through my property. At least 10 or 12 toms were announcing the coming dawn and one was surely wanting to be Sunday dinner. With that many gobblers around, all I had to do was wait and one would happen my way. This would be easy.

I waited until it was light enough to shoot and called to the chorus across the ditch from me. They all answered. There was deep booming gobbles, double gobbles and even the call from a couple of young birds just learning to gobble. This would make them think a hen had flown down and was waiting for them in the open pasture. The decoys would show them that hens were ready and waiting.

I called a few more times before I heard the unmistakable sound of turkeys flying off the roost. To describe the sound is difficult. It is somewhere between the sound of someone rapidly shaking a blanket and a plane crashing into the forest. There is no doubt when they come down.

I called again, hoping to gather the hens together, thereby letting them attract the gobblers. I was waiting in the perfect place. If they flew down on my side of the ditch, they could graze the sunny, open pasture and stroll to the pond for a drink. If they flew down on the other side, there is nothing but thick timber and heavy underbrush.

Apparently, their idea of a pleasant morning is not the same as mine. The hens all flew down on the wrong side. No amount of calling on my part could get any toms to fly on my side of the creek and visit my decoys. After another hour of clucking by the hens and gobbling by the toms, I knew I did not have the appeal to draw the gobblers away from the hens. I headed home empty handed but no less happy, content in the fact I got to hear the morning chorus.

Walter Scott is an outdoors enthusiast and freelance writer from Bloomfield, Iowa.