I hunted behind the horse farm this morning back where I was on Opening Day. It's just too pretty and there's too much sign there year-round not to hunt it more. I waited near the planted pines to decide where to go depending on where any gobbles were coming from. A gobbler sounded off with a lazy sounding gobble a little after 6 this morning. The low brush blind I built beside that downed tree was as close a place as any to start to his roost. Since we are limited to hunting with archery gear on private land in NC on Sundays, I brought along jake and hen decoys and a small stake blind to give me as much concealment as possible. The gobbler continued to sound off, though he wasn't sounding very serious about it. I couldn't tell if he was on the ground yet or not, so I tried him with a cutt and yelp series from my boat paddle box call. He gobbled back, much more interested this time. Just a couple of minutes later I heard something coming down the horse trail, but it was definitely NOT a turkey. It turned out to be a man and woman jogging on the horse trail (at 6:30 in the morning?!?). They passed without seeing my decoys or me. Of course they shut the gobbler down (jackasses). Un-freakin'-believeable!!! Who knows where they came from or who told them about the trail? All I could figure is they were visiting some neighbor from out of town.
I decided that since the trail gets some horse traffic and the joggers were moving steadily, I should ride it out since the only bird I heard was now quiet. I waited a while and called again, but got no answer. About 9:30 I heard a cluck behind me coming up the draw. I clucked back and it turned out to be a jake. He was very timid acting like he'd has his @$$ kicked a few times before. He was ducking and bobbing his head as he got near the jake decoy. Just then a squirrel barked and the jake jumped back startled, like that decoy might come after him. Next, the jake went periscope up with his head, then he putted and took off running uphill. I wasn't sure what made him putt, but I could hear something coming my way. I have permanent split double vision anytime I look to the right from a vehicle wreck I was in in 2007, so I couldn't tell what was coming through the small trees and vines, but it was black with a little white at the top and it was walking towards my set up. I got the crossbow up and ready. My heart was pounding hard because I was finally going to get the gorilla off my back and at least get a shot at a turkey. WRONG. As the rustling in the leaves grew louder, I closed my left eye so I could get a clear look at what was approaching. It was a skunk...and it was heading for my brush blind! I couldn't move for fear of it spraying me. I decided to hold tight and sit as still as a stone. It walked around towards the front of the blind and became interested in the smell of where I last put my foot before I stepped across the log. That pesky squirrel barked again and the skunk's head and tail came up. I was fearing the worst. The squirrel finally quieted down and the skunk started moving around closer towards me. Right then I was wondering how to get skunk scent off a crossbow. The skunk was walking along the edge of the blind, but the stake blind I set up was acting like a wall and keeping him from coming into the blind with me. He got interested in the smell where I pushed the last stake into the ground. He was less than 2 feet from me. The skunk continued around behind the rootball of the downed tree though I could hear him rooting around. A pair of Carolina Wrens flew in, landed on the limbs of the blind and started scratching the leaves at the base of the blind. They made enough noise that it was hard to keep track of the skunk. I decided to just wait until I was sure the skunk was gone before I moved out of there. About 40 minutes after the wrens left I worked up the nerve to stand up. the skunk was long gone. I high tailed it home, a little disappointed, but thankful at the same time.
Today was further proof that almost anything can and will happen in the turkey woods. I am 0 for 8 trips in 15 days of turkey season. Things have been tough for me, but at least I don't reek like a skunk. My work schedule is almost totally full for the upcoming week too, so Saturday May 5th might be my next time out.
Luck Counts, good or bad