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Deitz Dittrich

Turkey Hunting Article (LONG)

21 posts in this topic

The Quest for my First Long Beard—Lessons Learned Along The Way.

By Deitz Dittrich.

***In a whisper***

Me: “Is he in range?”

Joel Nelson: “How many times do I have to tell you, I don’t know, I cant see him I am facing the wrong way.”

Me: “Well, can you turn and tell me what you think? I need some advice here man.”

Joel: “Just make sure he doesn’t sneak around to our right. Let me know if he does; otherwise, just let me know when you want him to stick his head up.”

Me: “His head IS up, and I think he is in range.”

Joel: “Then take the shot, remember, half way up the neck.”

***In head***

Me: Be calm, pull trigger slowly, half way up neck, in range? Will he come closer? Line up sights. Looks good, deep breath, sights slightly blocked by foliage, slight reposition. Deep breath, half way up neck, slow trig.......BANG!!!!!

Lesson #1: Persistence Pays off.

This year’s quest for my first turkey encompassed two states, almost seven full days of hunting, many early mornings, many chances at birds, many mistakes, and many lessons learned. Here is my story...

Rewind one and one half weeks.

The night before opening day of my turkey season in Wisconsin found me driving down a dirt road--my mission given to me by my mentor Mr. Joel Nelson, whom I consider to be one of the best turkey hunters I know. My job was to “put a bird to bed,” which entails being as quiet as possible and getting near a roost area, close enough to hear a bird fly to roost but far enough so as to not spook the bird. Some people use calls to help in this; getting the bird to “shock gobble” on the limb can be done using a variety of non-turkey calls such at an owl hoot, crow call, or even a goose call. As I am not proficient in any of these calls, I relied on my ability to just be stealthy and used my ears to let me know where the birds were. I went to several locations and felt confident that I had located at least one bird to pursue. I went back to the cabin and waited for Joel (who was to hunt with me, making my quest quite a bit easier) to arrive to talk about the morning game plan.

Lesson #2: Locating a bird’s roost the night before, greatly increases your odds of getting a bird in the morning.

An early morning start to Turkey season left me a little groggy, but the excitement woke me up quickly. We chose a location near the bird’s roost, and leaned against a pair of trees in the dark. As dawn arrived, our adversary awoke and while he did not seem to share the same grogginess, he undoubtedly felt the same excitement—blissfully unaware that I planned for him to be the signature dish at my celebration dinner following my first day of turkey hunting. Mr. Gobbler was wide-awake and felt it necessary to let the world know it. He commenced gobbling quite aggressively while perched on his limb. A quick glimpse at Joel revealed a sparkle in his eye, and I could see a smile on his face through his camouflage veil of netting. In my own head, I knew things were going as planned. Masterfully, Joel let out a few quiet clucks and purrs. This fired up Mr. Gobbler to the tune of 144 gobbles (Yes, I counted.) However, gobble number 144 was not his last. From the time of the first gobble to the last we heard many events took place. Don’t worry: I will not bore you with every chess move we made, rather share with you the lessons learned. Needless to say, it was the turkey who triumphantly declared “Check Mate,” not I.

Lesson #3: Know the area you are hunting like the back of your hand. (I had not done this, which leads to lesson #4)

Lesson #4: Turkeys do not like to get their feet wet... Avoid setting up in an area that requires them to cross water, any water, en route from roost to you.

Lesson #5: Its not easy to pull a tom away from a hen, you can only play the “no, you come here” game so long before they grow tired of it and walk away.

As we circled around to get to where we thought the bird was going, Joel and I tried a few other sets to lure the bird back but never made contact with that bird again--or any other bird for that fact. By this time it was mid-to-late morning; Joel mentioned that while we had tried to be stealthy, the dryness of the woods made it nearly impossible to remain undetected. He suggested that it wouldn’t be a bad time to change locations to let these woods settle down. I described an area to him that I had found with large open areas near a river. It contained plenty of topography that happened to be very similar to our morning set but was located a few miles away. We drove in, parked the truck, and made a quick turkey call. A hasty retort from what seemed like 200 yards inside had us in a frenzy to get ready.

Lesson #6: Do not make a call unless you are ready to hunt.

Once again we found ourselves leaning against a tree with our eyes slowly panning the undergrowth. Ten minutes into the set we spotted a hen. Joel felt that the gobbler was not too far behind and instructed me to be ready and to keep an eye out for more movement. Another ten minutes passed and the “more movement” was impossible to miss: two more hens and a rather large tom streaked by at a dead run following the first bird. Joel felt that something other than us had spooked the birds as they did not run away from us but rather more along side of us at about eighty yards. We talked about it and came to the same conclusion, which resulted in lesson number seven.

Lesson #7: Don’t park the truck in plain view. (Review Lesson #6.)

The new area we were in looked good and had quite a bit of turkey sign. Joel showed me what dusting areas looked like as well as the unmistakable patterns the wings make in a sandy strutting zone. We made several more sets and calls as we walked along the topography, but never made contact with another bird. Our bellies told us lunch was needed.

A quick lunch and a short nap had us talking about the evening set. We were going to go back to our starting area and try to intercept the bird on its way back to roost. Because of the area, Joel felt it would be best to use his Double Bull blind and set out a few decoys. We set up quite early and proceeded to wait. Joel made a few non-aggressive calls every half hour. Shortly before roost time we spotted a jake (yearling male bird) making its way toward us. The jake spotted our decoys and didn’t seem to like the B-Mobile Tom decoy Joel had placed. Despite its apparent discomfort, the bird still fed and made its way nearer. While Joel, a seasoned, patient hunter, had no intention of harvesting a jake, I was eager for the opportunity to harvest this bird and readied myself for the shot. By the way, movement inside a blind is much easier than outside, which leads me to lesson number eight.

Lesson #8: Blinds allow you to move without being seen, a great thing to have for someone who is ADD like myself. You still have to make the movements slowly, but it does allow for more movement.

Shortly before the bird worked its way into range, one of the more abundant creatures of the woods we were in made an appearance: Mrs. Whitetail. While turkeys use their eyes as their major defense, deer use eyes, nose, and ears. Turkeys do not seem to be spooked in the slightest by a blind placed in the middle of the woods; deer however, don’t seem to share that feeling. Mrs. Whitetail didn’t like the new furniture we had placed in her living room and decided it was time to go elsewhere at a run. She took off in the direction of jake, who didn’t seem to like being run over by Mrs. Whitetail and decided that it might be a good idea to sleep somewhere else for the evening. This all happened in a rather short period of time. A quick glance at Joel who had his face net off and his head in his hands, revealed what I had feared: Round One went to the creatures of the woods.

Lesson #9: While deer are pretty, and fun to hunt, during their own season, they become evil and naughty during turkey season.

Morning of day two found us sitting in the blind on area number two where we had somewhat spooked the birds the day before with the truck. We set-up in the area where the birds had been the day before, in hopes that they would re-trace their steps. Joel informed me that it could be a long wait, as we did not make contact with them the day before till late morning. We heard one gobble in the far distance as the sun made itself known, but that was the last we heard.

Lesson #10: While turkeys are creatures of habit, it doesn’t take much to get them to change those movements.

We re-traced our movements from the day following the topography where we had seen the good signs but never heard or saw a turkey the rest of the morning. At one set, we did, however, call in a beautiful fox. While I have seen quite a few in my life, this was the first I’d met while sitting against a tree on the ground at ten yards. Very cool. In another set we watched a porcupine walk past us as well.

We planned to set in an area where we had been successful the year before (my first turkey hunt) where Joel had shot a beautiful, twenty-pound turkey. We had not scouted it at all this year but felt it to be our best chance at a bird. Again we set up the blind and set out a few decoys. Much to our dismay, those decoys were the only things we saw the whole evening. On the way in Joel had commented on the lack of turkey sign—unfortunately, his observation proved to be a portent of no-things to come.

Lesson #11: Past hunts can provide insight, but things change and the birds may not be using the same areas year after year.

I drove home Thursday night to return to work on Friday with the promise that I would be back on Friday evening in time to hunt. However, I would be on my own as Joel, too, had things he had to do. He was to meet me again on Saturday for an afternoon hunt. This left me on my own for Friday night and Saturday morning. Several afternoon lessons on my slate and box call had prepared me for this moment. Joel was a great teacher, and I quickly picked up a few calls and knowledge of when to use each. Friday evening’s hunt was to be mine: Joel even wanted me to choose my own area by using what I had learned the past two days. Using a map, I picked out what looked to be a prime spot. Joel, happy that his student seemed to be learning something, agreed that it was going to be a good location for my evening hunt. The area I chose had a bit of a hike to get back to, and when I got there I found a few very good looking white pines that looked like a perfect roost location. I sat, let the woods settle down a bit, and made my first calls on my slate--a couple of clucks paired with a few quiet yelps. I was quite pleased with the sound I had made and sat quietly smiling to myself as I anxiously waited to see if my calling had done any good.

Lesson #12: “Don’t over call” was the last thing Joel said to me before he left. “Make a few calls and then wait no less than twenty minutes to a half hour if you don’t hear anything.”

My calls must not have been perfect, for I had called something in, but it was not a bird. Note to self: try hard to not do the rain dance turkey call next time. A very brief, but quite wet, passing thunderstorm soaked me to the bone and dampened my spirits. As the storm passed and a cloud of mosquitoes descended upon me, one good thing emerged: a final thunder boom caused a bird to shock gobble off in the distance. As it was getting dark I heard another noise that sounded like wing beats and clucks, which I later learned was a fly-up cackle. After talking to Joel over the phone, telling of my evenings hunt on my own, he informed me that I now had a starting location for the next morning. Since I had not seen the bird pass me from my location, the bird must have come in from the other side. I was to set up opposite of where I heard the bird go to roost. Quite excited by this new information, I found sleep to be elusive that night. I woke up extra-early in the morning to sneak in under cover of darkness, which at this time of the year is QUITE early. I circled around the roost area at quite a distance and found a good area to sit. As there was still quite some time before the sun was to arrive, I made up for some of the sleep I missed out on the night before. I awoke to a thunderous gobble, which came from the exact tree I had figured him to be in. I was 150 yards away. On my trusty slate I made a few excited clucks, and a single run of three yelps. I had not yet finished my second yelp when I was rudely cut off with a triple gobble. At this point there was no doubt the turkey could hear my heart beat—it was so loud I couldn’t hear anything else. Mr. Turkey was all fired up; he surpassed the 144 gobbles I had heard the other morning—in fact, I lost track. I gave my date a few more clucks and readied the gun. Every ten seconds he fired off. I could feel the gobble hitting me in the face, however could not see him through the underbrush of the river bottom I was sitting in. He went a period of about sixty seconds during which he was quiet; in that time he covered some ground. His next gobble seemed only about 75 yards away. I found it hard to breathe for excitement, but kept the gun barrel pointed in the direction of the bird. His next gobble threw me for a loop. He had climbed the river bottom and was above me. From his next couple gobbles I could tell he was moving away from me. Things were not going as planned. I jumped up and climbed the river bottom trying my best to follow the bird from a distance. He was headed for a clearing. I crawled on my belly within twenty yards of the clearing and sat against a small tree. I made two clucks on the slate and was cut off with yet another triple gobble. Yes! Back in the game, baby... He came over a rise in full strut about one hundred yards out and was walking straight for me. Gobbling every five to ten seconds, he continued to come towards me like I had a leash on him. Was this really happening? Was I going to kill my first bird all by myself? In my head I was already deciding how I was going to carry him out over my shoulder. As the bird neared, he turned slightly, which put a clump of five small trees between us. He continued to cut the distance. He was now at thirty yards, maybe less. I could hear him spit, fire up his chest, and push his feathers out as far as he could get them, all behind five now seemingly enormous trees stood between us. He took one step. There he was. Beautiful. Safety off, deep breath, just stick your neck out and its over. His little strut left him behind the five trees yet again, where he gobbled ten more times. My heart was not doing well. Then, as quickly as it had started, it was over. A flash of black ran through the woods at what looked like forty miles per hour. What happened? I hadn’t moved a muscle. There was no way he saw me. Then, I saw “IT”.

Lesson #13: How fitting, lucky number 13...(Revisit Lesson #9.)

At this point I decided that I hate deer and vowed to take my revenge this coming fall. I did my best to circle around the bird a few more times and ended up playing a little cat and mouse game with him for the better part of an hour. Never able to bring him back and not wanting to spook him, I let him go in hopes that he would return that evening when Joel came back for our final hunt in Wisconsin. I walked back to my truck, tired, dejected, angry, sad, and disappointed.

Lesson #14: Take the shot if you have it, you may not get a better chance.

When Joel arrived in early afternoon I gave him the gory play-by-play of the morning hunt. I have to admit, I was amazed by his reaction. The jubilation and excitement in his eyes were not what I had expected. He went on to tell me how proud he was, how excited he was for me, how on my own I had been that close; in his eyes, I had done nothing wrong. It was just hunting: unpredictable. His spirits helped me pick myself back up. We hashed out a game plan for that evening’s hunt. We would return to the area in an attempt to cut that bird off on his way back to roost. We took advantage of a few extra hours to hone up on some archery skills. It was my turn to share some of my experience with Joel to help him get ready for his up-coming archery turkey hunt in Minnesota. Joel, already a quite accomplished archer, needed only a few slight form changes and was pounding out the center of the target out to fifty yards.

Our final evening found us again sharing good, quiet conversation from within the blind, contemplating life’s mysteries, and watching the three decoys we had set out. A hen made its way through. It was great to have her get so close. I was able to hear her purr, and made a mental note to myself to practice that sound on my slate when I had time though my wife has long grown tired of the nearly hour a day I devote to making myself sound like a turkey. Shortly after the hen had walked wherever hens walk, another storm came. This brought quite a bit of rain, and some heavier winds. Joel said that this was not good, and often caused birds to roost early. This may or may not have happened, but that hen was indeed the last bird I saw during the Wisconsin season. While the turkeys reminded incognito, we managed to see a few more deer before the sun set. Wisconsin Turkey Tag Soup was on the menu for dinner that evening, and I still hate deer.

Lesson #15: Pay attention to the weather. While you can’t change it maybe you can use it to your advantage. Then again, maybe not.

Fast forward to the following Friday. I’m on Minnesota Highway 52 to Southern Minnesota and the home of Joel Nelson. I arrive in time to hop in his truck and attempt to once again “put birds to bed.” We locate a few areas that hold some promise and make plans for the morning. In Minnesota, Joel is trying to take a bird with a bow, while I am still trying to harvest my first bird with the 12-gauge. We decide that if a bird hangs up out of bow range I will attempt to take it with the gun, but if a bird comes in close, we will let Joel take a shot with the bow. We set up on the edge of a field, wait for the sun to rise, and listen for gobblers. A four-wheeler starts up in the distance just as the birds start to gobble--obviously another hunter who didn’t get up as early as Mr. Nelson and me. We feel that the four- wheeler may have spooked a few of the early gobblers causing them to head in other directions, so we concentrate our calls in the direction opposite the four-wheeler. A few hours pass before, while on one of the routine checks out the back window of the blind, Joel announces that a jake is on his way in and shortening the distance in a hurry. We get in ready position. Joel with his bow, me with my shotgun if needed. At forty yards the bird hangs up, does a one-eighty, and trots off in the direction from which it came. Joel, dumbfounded, figures the angle from which the jake was coming caused our blind to shield him from seeing the tom decoy we placed out. When the bird reached forty yards he had moved just enough to be able to see it and didn’t like it.

Lesson #16: While decoys can help you at times, they can hurt you just as much--especially on pressured birds (this bird was not) and younger birds.

We ditch the bow and blind and set up a few places to do some calling, never again making contact with a bird. We find where the other hunter had set up, and call the landowner to find that it was his nephew who was also given permission to hunt. Joel and I eat some lunch and devise a new game plan for the evening on some different land that we may have to ourselves. On our way to our evening position our plans quickly change as two nice toms work their way in a field edge as we drive by. Joel informs me that we do not have permission to hunt this land, but we do have permission to hunt the land behind it in the direction they were heading to roost. We make the quick decision to ditch the original plan and pursue these two toms.

Lesson #17: Be willing to change plans quickly. Do your best to get as much huntable land before season starts so that you can chase birds when given the opportunity.

We circle around to the land we have permission to hunt and again set up the blind and decoys. We let the woods settle some, do some leaf scratching, and make a few light calls. Within ten minutes our two gobblers announce they are on the way. They come in from the exact location Joel says they will.

Lesson #18: (Re-Read lesson #3.) Knowing the land you are on helps predict where the birds are going, allowing you to put yourself in the best chance to harvest the bird.

The two toms gobble their way out of the draw and in our direction. The lead bird seems to be on a mission that really doesn’t have anything to do with us, or our set. The second bird seems a little more interested, but seems more worried about falling too far behind his buddy. The nearest the bird came to us was sixty yards, not close enough to take a shot. Joel announces that he is sick of the decoys and that on tomorrow’s hunt he is going back to what he knows: chasing birds. He is going to ditch the blind and decoys and concentrate on getting me my bird.

Overcast skies greet us this morning along with quite a bit of wind, a bad thing when trying to listen for gobbles and then chasing them. We lie in the grass along a field edge for the better part of a half hour before we hear our first bird, which is way off in the distance. Joel had chosen the location because he had permission to many adjoining lands, which gave us free-roam to chase these birds. After the second gobble from the bird in the distance, Joel takes off at a slow jog, me in pursuit. While the wind was good in covering our noise, it also did the same for our foe. After an hour of pursuit, we lose our original bird. In the process, however, we pick up a pair of gobblers in a different direction.

Lesson #19: Make sure you are in good shape if you plan on hunting southern Minnesota. Them hills can kill a man.

Lesson #20: If you plan on chasing birds, dress lightly, as it’s quite easy to overheat.

The two above lessons are critical. I fail to adhere to either. While I am in relatively good shape it is not enough to trudge up and down mountains (or what felt like mountains to me). I like the warmth I have for the half hour we waited in the grass, but for the remainder of the day, I cuss it, hate it, and lose plenty of valuable body fluid. I do not have enough water and am dehydrated. Cramps ensue as a result.

Lesson #21: It’s not easy to sit still when you are cramping. Bring plenty of snacks and water to re-energize when needed.

Lesson #22: (Re-read lesson #20, it’s very important.) Also, try not to hunt with some jerk-bait who always takes the comfortable side of a tree against which to lean.

Dejected, rejected, tired, thirsty, hungry, I threw in the towel. I look at Joel and announce that I hate turkeys, they are the devil, and that he too is the devil for talking me into trying the kill one. I have had enough, done, finished. He agrees that its lunch time and we should start to make our way back to the truck which we both agree is well over a mile away through some of the nastiest hills and swamps known to man. At this point I am a pile of sweat and tears. We make our way down a ravine (much easier to go down than up) and Joel looks at me and tells me to keep my eyes open for Morels, as it looks like a good area. I have never found one in my life and am having a hard enough time just keeping my eyes open. Just then out of the corner of my eye we see two bucks making their way toward us. We quickly sit and watch the two walk past us at no more than ten yards. I suspect that both will be trophies by fall as they already sport large antlers at this time of year. As the two meander off behind us, I whisper to Joel, “Isn’t that a morel by my right foot?” We spend the next hour and a half picking about 200 of the tasty shrooms. Now not only am I tired, I am carrying a few extra pounds in mushrooms up and down the evil mountains. However, it’s a sacrifice I will gladly make assuming I survive the trip back to the truck. At the top of one field-edge leading to another we locate a nice-looking roost tree that leads down into a ravine. Joel says we should sit and make some calls. At this point I can care less about making calls, but the thought of sitting down for a while is delightful. Joel who has quite a bit more energy than me, is younger by about ten years, and is used to climbing the mountains of southern Minnesota where he grew up, fires up a masterful sequence of yelps and cuts. He whispers to me that he called pretty aggressively and we better sit for at least a half hour in case anything comes in silently. We face opposite directions tucked tightly into a bush of some sort. I feel safe closing my eyes for a nap without him yelling at me for slacking. Twenty minutes into our thirty-minute sit, it happens, a gobble at about one hundred yards coming from the ravine under the roost tree. I look at my watch, 8:40 am. I whisper to Joel, “Was he talking to us?”

“You dang right, and he is coming, get that gun ready and scooch yourself to the other side of the tree.” Joel stays put and watches a different direction in case the bird loops around the other way, which he feels may happen for this location. Hidden well by the bush we are in, we sit and wait. Joel decides not to call again, as he feels the bird is coming. After another ten minutes, I begin to second-guess my hunting partner as there has been neither sight nor sound from the bird. As I turn my head slowly, there he is, in all his glory, coming over the rise of the field. I can’t type what I say next as it would be censored, but it was something like, “Well I’ll be danged, there he is.” Joel, facing the opposite direction, asks what the turkey is doing. I tell him he is walking quite quickly straight toward us and eating every five steps or so--currently he’s about 150 yards out. I ask Joel to turn around and tell me what I should do. He asks if I have the gun ready and the safety off. The click of the safety being taken off answers his question. He tells me he is not going to move. I am his eyes, and I am supposed to tell him exactly what is happening as that will affect if and how he calls. I inform him that nothing has changed, the bird is walking straight for us and is now about 100 yards out “I can see his beard flapping in front of him, its a long beard.”

“Get ready, it’s going to happen this time.”

***In a whisper***

Me: “Is he in range?”

Joel Nelson: “How many times do I have to tell you, I don’t know, I cant see him I am facing the wrong way.”

Me: “Well, can you turn and tell me what you think, I need some advice here man?”

Joel: “Just make sure he doesn’t sneak around to our right. Let me know if he does, otherwise, just let me know when you want him to stick his head up.”

Me: “His head IS up, and I think he is in range.”

Joel: “Then take the shot, remember, half way up the neck.”

***In head***

Me: Be calm, pull trigger slowly, half way up neck, in range? Will he come closer? Line up sights. Looks good, deep breath, sights slightly blocked by foliage, slight reposition. Deep breath, half way up neck, slow trig.......BANG!!!!!

Lesson #1 Persistence Pays off.

The bird does a back flip. “Shoot again if you need to.” I see the bird’s feet straight up in the air finishing the final flap of a crappie flop. I know there will be no need for a second shot.

We exchange handshakes, high fives, and hugs and a tear forms in the corner of my eye. I tell Joel it’s because I am still cramping up major, but he knows the real reason. It’s not the largest bird that has ever walked the face of the earth (it weighs just over 16 pounds, sports a beard a bit over ten inches, and spurs just under an inch), but it was the most beautiful thing in the world and the biggest trophy I have ever shot. The joy and elation I felt at that moment will be hard to match again in this lifetime.

This is the story of my first bird, and the lessons I have learned along he way.

Thank you friend and mentor, Joel Nelson. Without you, it would have never happened!

deitzbird.jpg

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GREAT READ, Deitz! Thank you for taking the time to tell your story, that needs to be sent to a magazine (NWTF, Outdoor Life, etc.).

I'm glad you got your bird and I know how "cramping" can bring a tear to your eye, I had a wicked "cramp" when I shot my first bird this year while with my dad..........he didn't believe me either grin

Congrats Dude!!!!

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Sweet story! I was GOBBLED up in excitement! Congrats!

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Deitz,

Great write up. You had a whale of a hunt. You experienced the wide range of emotions that turkey hunting can give you crazy

Congrats

Steve Sorgenfrei

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Thanks for that Deitz! My eyes didn't glaze over one bit while reading it.

Welcome to another addiction. As if lakers weren't enough. wink

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Nice work guys. The lessons learned make the experience all that more enjoyable. Those hard fought birds are definitley the most rewarding. Congratulations!

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Great story, great hunt. Now you know, the first hunt is for sport. After that, it's all about the revenge.

Way to go guys!

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Deitz,

What a great story.

The real trick is not replicating those mistakes you make along the way!

As pumped as you must have been, I'm relatively certain I know how Joel felt as well.

Congrats to both of you.

WD

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Thanks WD and others.

It's been a fun ride, though extremely frustrating at times. More than anything, the story of the hunt summarized the highs and lows that can be turkey hunting. Some years, you're slapping the tag on twin gobblers at 6AM, wishing that you had more days to hunt. Other seasons, you're up against a tree with moss growing on your backside as you catch some ZZZ's between gobbles for weeks on end.

Thanks D-man for putting up with my crabbiness. smile When birds are working, rarely do I take time for niceties or even common human decency (read Jonny P's hunt); so it's nice of you to not get up from the tree and walk the other way when I say, "Quit moving," "Hey, Hey, Hey!," "Slowly," or "Shhh!." One of my turkey hunting mentors always used to just stop walking, turn around, and give me a dirty look. Trust me, you want the complaining and not the dirty look. smile

I liked reading Deitz's take on the hunt, as loving turkey hunting the way I do and doing it for these years, I have sometimes a very divergent experience from those folks just getting into the sport.....all with the exact same events, sitting right next to the same person. It's fun to watch. Many of those lessons listed, to me, boil down to just one lesson - "that's turkeys." They're unpredictable, and just when you think they'll do what "makes sense," they do the complete opposite of what many birds before and after them had done and will do.

The woods and the turkeys in it teach a different lesson to each student, though what is universal is that the more class you attend, the better understanding of the subject matter you have; all the while realizing if you went to school year round you'd still never learn all there is to know.

Joel

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Thanks again everyone for all the kind words...If was very fun to expierence it for sure, but had a lot of enjoyment writing it as well.

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Congrats on your first bird. Definitely was a good read. I am curious just how far was your bird when you shot it? Did you step it off?

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Yes, between 32-35 yards(depending on if I stepped it of going uphill or down..LOL) The shot was slightly down hill.

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Great story Deitz. The magic of the hunt and a truly remarkable friendship. Thanks for sharing.

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Congrats Dietz.

Yes turkeys are evil. But I wouldn't have it any other way!

If it was so easy it would be far less significant and memorable.

Again, Congrats!

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Awesome read Deitz! Way to go!

I have to constantly remember Lesson #14. It has bitten me as well. Never again I hope. They will die at the first opportunity... grin

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Way to go Deitz & Joel! That was a great read, alot of good lessons to remember.

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    • Good question, why didn't they find any more?  Did those two infected deer parachute in?  Were they dropped by a helicopter?  I find it fascinating they could get as far as Lanesboro and they only find two out of thousands.  Like I said, they're bad at conspiracy.    Policing the borders?  How about a billboard, a radio ad, or a twitter campaign?  How about having the highway patrol pull over anyone with hooves or antlers sticking outta their truck box or laying on a flatbed coming across the border on the interstate?    My wealth and land ownership shouldn't disqualify me from questioning the DNR.  It used to be a staple of a free country to question your government.  Somehow now it's more important to kneel before the all knowing DNR and take whatever they want to shove in our mouths?  If this is real science and a real mitigation effort, let's have a discussion about it.  If the DNR wants to stop this spread, why are they not welcoming with open arms feedback like mine when it comes to import enforcement, and an effective PR campaign?  Cause guess what fella, lots of deer got hauled home from all kinds of places infected with CWD by uninformed folks that are going to cut up those critters and throw the brains and spinal cords out in the woods at home.    So yeah, this is either a giant hoax, or the DNR has no idea what the hell they're doing. 
    • I just checked on the fans that I bought, there 4.7 inchs sq and 1.25 thick. I thought they were 5 inch thick but I was wrong. They are 110v and I think I will put one inside on the bottom plate and see how it works. And I like where you have your fishingstar.
    • Slowly getting the outside buttoned up 
    • Yea I had that idea too 
    • I saw three or four huts in the little wet area in the lake vadnais area just off country road F.   But they would probably get upset if you set traps there...    right next to the new path that goes south along the east side of the lake. 
    • In the olden days, pigs were fed garbage.  Trichinosis was a problem.  Then laws were passed so any garbage fed to pigs had to be cooked first.  Problem went away.   According to CDC there hasn't been a case of trichinosis except from eating wild game like bear meat for many years.  
    • From a quick google search it looks like waveinn.com or the bay of e might be your best bets, if you don't want to buy from shimano.
    • Does anyone know of a place you can get spare Shimano Sedona spools?? I run braid in the summer and don't want to run it on the ice.
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