Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Gun For Dinosaur

Only a few short days are left before the opening of spring turkey season in Goethe State Forest, and I was fortunate enough to get a limited entry permit for the first phase of hunting this year.  Even more fortunate, my old friend Charlie, the man who was pivotal in reintroducing me to hunting with my trips out to beautiful Catalina Island, is able to join me for a few days of scouting and hunting.  I'm really looking forward to seeing him, as well as the mental health boost that a few days of companionship in nature will afford me.  I've been super busy and stressed lately, dealing with massive renovations at home and a flood of activity at work (see the recent unfortunate events in Seffner, FL for the reason for this) and some nature time is exactly what I need.  A few meals of wild turkey would be pretty sweet too.

I realized this morning that I never covered the story my tentative attempts at turkey hunting last spring on this blog.  Not sure how I omitted that, but here it is in summary form:  After applying for and getting a turkey permit for Goethe II last season, I decided my old A5 wasn't going to cut it for turkey hunting and that I needed a new shotgun.  I have a form of OCD that really short-circuits my brain when decisions between closely equivalent things are concerned but after my usual agonizing protracted mental ordeal of choosing I decided on a Mossberg 835 turkey rig that was actually available at the local Wally-World.  Its a handy little pump action shotgun, I do like the feel of it. 

The 835 is chambered for 2 3/4 to 3 1/2 inch shells.  I'd never actually shot a 3 1/2 inch shell before, so I acquired a box of them when I went to SC on an early Spring visit with my family.  I test fired the shotgun at my brother's house, using it to blow vent holes in his new burn barrel (you laugh, but it's by far the easiest and most fun way to accomplish that goal).  Standing about 20 yards from the barrel I racked a 3 1/2 inch shell into the chamber, aimed and fired.  BAOOOM! went the 835.  SPANGGGGG! went the pellets against the barrel.  Back rocked the barrel.  Back rocked me!  When I got vertical again I looked over at my brother and uttered a very un-church-going string of words.  I would not like to shoot very many of those in row.

As far as the hunts go, I practiced with a basic box call until I sounded only like a slightly afflicted turkey.  To my utter amazement I managed to call up a tom late that first morning.  He appeared, of course, when I was taking a short break after holding my gun at the ready for hours.  I was almost frozen at the shock anyhow.  By the time I snapped out and started to raise the gun the tom had spotted me and turned turkey.  I'll never forget the extreme case of tunnel vision I had while my eyes were laser-locked on his Rudolph-red neck and head.  That got the heart pumping, let me tell you. That's as close as I got to roast wild turkey in 2012, although I heard a good bit of gobbling on my two subsequent attempts.

The current plan is to scout tomorrow and Friday afternoon and evening then hunt the weekend and possibly Monday morning as well.  Charlie has some experience hunting turkey in Cali, he's actually bagged a few so I'll be deferring to his seniority on this.  I got to go over on Sunday afternoon to do a little scouting, I have some areas in mind but I'm pretty flexible on it.  Wish us luck an all.

Florida Maple greening up on the pond.  Breath 'o spring and such.
BTW, the title of this post references both the fact that turkeys, and all birds, are descended from a branch of the dinosaur family tree and also the title of a short story by the science fiction author L. Sprague de Camp , which was adapted into a great episode of the classic Sci-Fi radio show X Minus One.

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