Saturday, April 30, 2011

No birds but a happy child

Opening morning of turkey season came early. I trundled down the hall to get my 10 year old side kick out of bed. Usually this is an easy task but I knew we were going to have a slow start when she mumbled about having slept through two alarms already. We hustled around getting ready and soon it was departure time. This was Ainsley's first trip out for anything other than our rabbit trip. She didn't have any camouflage of her own so we had to make do with some of mine.


I think the whole baggy look could qualify this as hip hop huntware.

    I had decided to hunt the best spot I had last year. I hadn't actually scouted it yet but figured we stood a good chance as well as we had a good place to set up a ground blind. As we walked in I heard a tom gobble in the dark. It was far to the east from where we were but sounded like the same piece of bush. Last year they were roosting daily right behind where I was setting my ground blind up.

    We settled in and placed the decoys out in front of the blind about 20 yards. Ainsley was excited but before long the early start caught up with her. It wasn't long before her little head was resting on my knee and she was asleep again.

Sadly the distant gobble we heard on the way into the field was the only bird we heard or saw. We lingered until about 11 am and then I took her home fed her lunch and started to hatch an afternoon plan. We had until 7 pm which is the end of hunting time in Ontario

    I have a few pieces of crown land in my area that I considered. Some of the bigger pieces I knew would be full of people today but there was one small piece called the Kirkwall Tract that might just do the trick. Back into the truck we climbed and we headed off to plan B.

Plan B didn't happen.

As we were passing another, much larger piece of crown land, a turkey flew across the road in front of us. It was in the south end of a 350 acre piece. About a mile to a mile and a half away from the parking lot.

    Not to be deterred by the distance or the rain Ainsley and I headed back into the bush. It was going to be lighter hunt this time with no ground blind to hide in. We rolled up Ainsley's pant legs as best we could and started.


It was a long an soggy walk. I have to give her credit she was quite the trooper. Some of the water we had to skirt was a little deep and pretty tangled. All the while it rained.


    We made our way to the back corner opposite of where we saw the bird. It was a challenging trp. Between swampy bits and lots of hawthorn bushes and tangle it was a slow and prickly trip. We finally found a good tree on the edge of a promising field where we set up and waited. It wasn't long before we heard the gobbler arrive a little north of us in the bush. I teased and cajoled him . He got closer and closer until it sounded like he was on top of us. We couldn't see him but Ainsley was thrilled. Sadly he eventually wandered back to the north leaving us behind. With three hunting hours left we decided we were too wet and too cold to linger any longer. A long trudge out left me with a happy little girl keen to go again…in her own camo.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The End of Innocence

It was inevitable I suppose. That's what comes with education I'm told. It makes me sad though. To see her shed her innocence so soon. It went something like this…

Me with my diaphragm turkey call "Putt Putt Cluck cluck cluck"

My wife "honey would you stop that."

Me looking a little wounded "but sweet heart I'm wooing you like last year (putt putt cluck)"

My wife, "It's not working because you're trying to call a boy and I'm not a boy"

It was like watching a child shed their belief in the Easter Bunny. On the upside I'm under strict orders to redeem my deer season by getting her a yummy turkey. Fortunately that's a set of instructions I can live with.

    This is Easter Sunday and I want to wish you all a Happy Easter. For those of us in Ontario it is also the day before spring Turkey season opens. It's also voting season. Naturally I voted in the advanced poles this weekend. Can't have a piddly little thing like the future of the country interfere with a good day of turkey hunting. So while the rest are making X's on May 2 I'll be free to gobble and cluck my way across the Ontario countryside.

    May 8 is my anniversary. It's the first one. Apparently it's paper. I'm not sure what I was expecting along this line but my loving wife surprised me with an early anniversary present. I mentioned that it wasn't paper and she grinned and pointed out the paper price tag attached to it. So now I have a cool turkey vest.

It's a pretty cool vest. It has a nice big puffy seat and good back pad. Takes a water bladder and room for my mouth calls as well as box, pot and locator calls. It has three pockets that have magnetic closures for strikers. More importantly it has the single most important thing you need to ensure you'll always get your turkey. It has this
How can you go wrong with a great turkey picture on your vest?


    The shotgun is almost ready. It just needs patterning which is today's project. The choke of choice for this year comes from Indian Creek.

The rest of the shotgun setup was a little stressful. I needed a picatinny rail installed and had to have a gunsmith drill and tap some holes. The job was good but the three days that turned into more than two weeks certainly stressed me out. I got the shotgun back Tuesday of this past week.
The coolest part is why I needed the rail. The aiming system of choice is the Vortex Strikefire.

This thing is great. No parallax past 50 yards and only a tiny bit under 50. The red dot is adjustable in brightness and the glass is good. It makes my shotgun look like a real threat to turkey's. I'm looking forward to trying it on waterfowl as well.

After I took this picture I moved the site farther forward on the rail. I think I like how it performs better but shooting it will be the real trial.

    So now we count down the hours. I have a spot all picked out for the morning. The vest is packed and my sidekick for the day, ten year old Ainsley, has been briefed and we're good to go. The Easter Bunny arrived today and in her basket was a webkinz turkey. Hopefully it isn't the only one she gets to see this week.