I fought through the morning fog that is waking up, getting all my stuff thrown into the Jeep and making the 20-minute drive over to Seth and Derek's neighborhood without any issues. After a quick breakfast (gotta love New Yorkers like Derek and Paul who love a hot breakfast before hitting the field!), we loaded up Derek's truck and were off to public land in the South Mountains along the Cleveland, Rutherford and Burke county lines. The hour and half long drive was a race against the rising sun and breaking daylight, but we were fortunate to race up the mountain, guns and my video camera in tow, just as the Spring woods were waking up. We settled in along a road bed running along the spine of a ridge dropping off the side of the mountain. Gobblers were sounding off below us left and right as night turned to morning, starting our waiting game along that road bed. While all the action seemed to be below us, around 7:30 (or was it 8?) we heard something walking just below our ambush spot in the creek drainage on the opposite side of the road. We waited, debating whether our ears were playing tricks on us or we actually had some kind of animal moving our way. Suddenly I hear Derek yell in a whisper, "Turkey!" and get ready to make a move to a shooting position. After a few seconds, I see a head pop out from behind a bush, then a neck and finally a whole Butterball turkey body. The hen scratched the leaves, feeding her way along the drainage without a clue that two camo clad hunters were waiting to see if she had a fired up gobbler behind her.
It turns out she didn't and as we lost sight, and sound, of her, we decided to stick it out on this particular roadbed another 30 minutes or so, hoping a lonely tom would come in looking for our live decoy. When it became apparent we would have to go find Mr. Lonely ourselves, the all familiar sound of crunching leaves made an appearance again, this time coming from the direction of where the hen had went. Once again, Derek yelled while whispering that it was a turkey and of course that was followed by me seeing a head, then a neck and finally what turned out to be the same Butterball turkey body. We watched and videoed the hen scratching and feeding, hoping this would be the time that a gobbler would silently come in strutting to his demise but it just wasn't in the cards. Once she was gone from sight, we gained the 600-vertical feet as fast as we could to the saddle above where the hen had went, trying to either cut-off her and any turkey that may be with her if they decided to go up the mountain or try to coax an old Tom from off the top of the mountain. We thought it had worked when we heard a few clucks and purrs coming from the thick undergrowth below us, but again our efforts didn't pay off.
The rest of the day was spent listening to the wind howl up top while working our way along the side of the mountain, just below the top. Another setup didn't produce even a peep so back down we went, setting up one more time along one of the many small creeks in the area before having to call it a day. Even if some would consider that kind of day a bust, the fact that we got some good video of a turkey being a turkey, great audio of gobbling off in the distance and important "recon" information about the turkeys in that area (that will make more sense whenever I get around to typing up this past weekend's recap) made it hardly that. We may have been unsuccessful in filling our tags or getting to lay eyes on strutting gobbler, but it was a worthwhile time being able to get out in the woods with a new hunting partner as well as finally being able to share a turkey hunting adventure with someone instead of going after them solo. Until next time, may your shot always be true.