DJ took me out turkey hunting to a spot on our property near where the game camera had picked up frequent turkey activity. He set me up beside a blown down tree and he moved nearby to try to call them to me. I don’t know how long we sat before I started to hear rustling in the leaves to my left up on the ridge.
I shifted around to get into the correct position in case there were turkeys. I’m terrible at judging distance, but as the rustling grew louder, at the farthest point I could see through the woods, I spotted several black shapes. They were scratching their way down the hill toward me at an angle.
I raised my gun and tried to pick out one for a good shot. Now, I am not very good at sighting moving targets, even slow walking ones. Remember this is only my third hunting season. So I waited and watched as the birds, a dozen or so, meandered down the hill toward me. It felt like a long time and my arms grew weary from holding the rifle steady.
They were definitely closer too, I like big targets. Finally, I had one headed into an opening through which I felt I could take a shot. I waited, and waited, sheesh, how long do I have to hold this position? At last, the hen stepped into my targeted opening. I adjusted my aim, breathed out, and pulled the trigger.
Chaos in the woods as every other bird took flight or ran back up the hill to the ridge. I watched my bird amidst a cloud of feathers hop and run after the rest of the flock. DJ is telling me to shoot again, but I’m not very fast at working the bolt (because I’m a newbie, and because I had carpal tunnel release surgery 6 weeks before, but that is another post), and the hen was running zig-zag up the hill. Picture Lightning McQueen when the sheriff is chasing him and the sheriff’s car is backfiring, McQueen is telling himself, “Serpintine, serpentine,” well that is what my hen was saying as she squawked away up the ridge.
Once everything calmed down, we set off to track my hen. First we located the pile of feathers, and I mean it was a pile of feathers. I could have made a pillow. We didn’t see any blood. DJ asked which way she ran and we started circling, looking for a blood trail. Nothing.
We got to the top of the ridge and I thought I spotted movement partway down, but couldn’t see anything in the scope. We waited and watched a while, walked around some more before DJ decided I must have just clipped the breast feathers. No blood, no hit, no bird.
We went back home, empty handed. DJ did go out later just to make sure there wasn’t a wounded bird suffering somewhere, but again, found nothing.
A few days days later, DJ was getting ready for work and I followed him from the bathroom to our bedroom. I don’t remember what we were talking about, but when I looked out our window, up the hill in the field, was a flock of about 15 turkeys.
“Holy turkeys! I said. DJ told me to hurry and get my gun as they were just slowly eating their way across the field. “Nah, that’s ok, I’m still in my pj’s.” He was more adamant, practically ordering me to hurry and get my vest and gun.
So I slipped my jeans over my pj’s, raced downstairs, grabbed my rifle and clip, my orange hat and orange vest (with license attached) safety and lawful first, even if one is still in pajamas! Quietly, we crept out the door, keeping the woodshed between ourselves and the turkeys. I got near the woodshed and into position. They were probably 40 yards away. I picked out a hen I felt was in the best position to take a shot, breathed out and BOOM!
The flock flew in two different directions, but laying on the ground was my prize. My first turkey! Not bad for hunting in one’s pajamas! I tagged my bird and carried it down to the house for pictures. I was cold with just my jeans on over my pj’s, so I put on my coat first. That evening after DJ returned from work, I helped (well, actually I just watched) him butcher my hen. Turkey breast in the freezer! Yay me!