Editor’s Note: This is a series of articles written by Switzerland County’s David Hewitt. The articles center on all things ‘outdoors’, from hunting and fishing to woodsmanship. Look for more articles coming in future editions.
Last day of turkey season and the morning broke gray, cool and rainy…
This was it, the last hoorah, now or never, do or die…
It was a greasy, dark, slog along the two track trail next to the clover field. I looked forward to the relative dryness of the pop-up blind. Decoys set, I shake off the rain and settle back into my hide and wait for daylight.
Out the front window, fresh cut clover and a view of the woods beyond, fog rolling off the hollers like smoke. Behind me, the roar of rain-swollen Grant’s Creek as it tumbles along towards the Ohio and points further South and West.
An hour into my watch and no turkeys. I don’t blame them – no one in their right mind ought to be out in weather like this. Aside from the pouring rain and the rushing water, all is quiet. The rain has found the blind’s weak points as I watch water trickle down the interior walls and eventually pool under my feet. The constant “pitter, patter” of the rain against the roof of my hiding spot lulls me into a trance and I’m certain I’ve dozed a time or two. I flinch myself awake and a quick peek out the window reveals nothing but more of the same.
My mind drifts away from turkey hunting and I think to myself “It’s Mother’s Day”…and I’m grateful to still have my mom around when so many others I know have lost theirs. I’m grateful for a mom that always encouraged my love of the outdoors, hunting and fishing and was always eager to hear my tales, even if she wasn’t interested. I think about her words of wisdom and how I didn’t always understand them at the time, but now as a parent of teenagers, they ring true…
I daydreamed and thought and head nodded and napped…
Snapped back awake, a distant yelp across the creek. Three hours in and still no birds. As much as I hate to admit it, it’s time to pack it in and call it a season. The rain continues to pound down and the sky is still thick with no let up in sight.
Time to slip and slide back to the truck and dry clothes.
So, was my turkey hunting season a success? In terms of meat on the table and a tail fan and beard for the wall, it was an abject failure; but, I saw the colors of an early morning sunrise painted by my Creator; I heard the calling of barred owls in the pre-dawn morning; I was serenaded each day by songbirds; I inhaled the scent of honeysuckle as it hung thick in the air; I experienced the anticipation and excitement of hunting new spots thanks to inviting friends.
I saw deer and turkeys and felt my heart race with a few close encounters. I heard Tom’s thunder their calls up and down the valley, from one hilltop to another. I watched a barren field transform almost overnight into a lush green carpet of soybeans. But best of all, I shared time in the woods with a boy that is growing up all too fast.
To have taken a turkey with my bow would have been the chocolate icing on top of an already sweet cake!
So…Was my season a success? I’ll let you decide…
– David Hewitt