2012 Turkey Hunting Journey Re-cap
By Bobby Parks
Every season brings new and unknown adventures. You anticipate, plan, set goals, and hope for good weather and luck but hope and reality are not always the same. My original plans included starting in Alabama where Wesley Phelps and I would be hosting Jim Bates, his some Ryan and our friend Matt. This would be followed up with hunts here at home in Georgia, and then joining Jim in Texas and Oklahoma. The second half of the season included another trip to New Mexico, Montana, and then an Idaho and Washington trip. Alabama
It started out as planned with a good hunt in Alabama. Matt and Wesley scored and Jim and Ryan enjoyed some close counters and opportunities. I did not kill a bird that weekend but enjoyed my first experience of being bitten by a Brown Recluse Spider which fortunately turned out to be a minimal problem for me.
Wesley and Matt’s Alabama birds
My only Alabama bird
I made 3 trips to Alabama, each time camping alone and hunting the next morning. I ended up with one good hunt and a bird to show for the efforts. Texas & Oklahoma
I had to hold off on the Texas Oklahoma hunt due to work and business needs so that was a disappointment especially when I started seeing text messages and photos of dead birds.New MexicoThe Georgia crew in NM
Wesley Phelps, Grant Carmichael, and I headed to NM to join Jim and we had several great hunting sessions there. Extremely strenuous and trying physically and as Wesley said, “Man, this is worse than I remember”. You really can’t begin to appreciate the good air you breathe until you hunt high elevations in mountainous terrain and realize no matter how fast or hard you breathe, you don’t get oxygen. Being in shape helps but its difficult to prepare for this.
Grant and I scratched out a couple birds and Wesley killed one and had another in his sights but hesitated at the time not wanting his hunt too be over too soon. That decision ended up costing him. We had a great time and enjoyed the hospitality there.Montana
As I said earlier you hope for good weather and luck. Well things don’t always work out like you hope and the first two days in Montana were brutal. My dad, Wesley and I endured 30 degree temps with high winds, rain, sleet, and some snow. A verification that there had been a bird die off on the prairie and the fact that railroad work was going on where we hunted near the river combined to create the beginnings of depression. We hunted for two days mostly holed up in a dilapidated structure full of bull
My dad with his two Montana gobblers
Wesley on the day the weather cleared
manure and pigeon dropping stalagmites. Seriously, this stuff was piled up 2 high and the pigeons must have roosted on the exact same rafter for the past 5 years. I’ve never seen anything like it. If that wasn’t enough every animal around must have taken refuge in this place and left plenty of souvenirs to be remembered by. One even died there. It was our only choice though and again it kept the rain off us and I’ve never been so thankful for not having the sense of “smell”.
We glassed from the loft here and made surges and went after birds we spotted from there. We killed 3 birds during this effort and considering the weather we were lucky. We killed a couple more once the weather cleared. And although we were concerned, we didn’t catch any disease from spending the two days in the Animal Crap House.Georgia
Prior to the travels I had not been able to hunt Georgia but was able to make a trip down near Lyons on the Altamaha River and had a fantastic hunt there killing two really good birds. One had some of the longest spurs I’ve taken. Met some great people there and made new friends.
Later I was able to hunt an afternoon in north Georgia with my friend Zach Thaite and killed a nice bird there. It was one of my best hunts of the year actually in how it all went down.
Near the Altamaha River
Third Georgia bird taken in North GeorgiaIdaho & Washington
This was one of the hunts I really looked forward to because it was on new and un-explored ground. The adventure itself was great. Hunting in bear country and seeing wolf and bear tracks and keeping your hand in your vest holding bear spray is different than what I’m used to. For me it just added excitement. It was tough and we spent more consecutive hours than I ever have (46 to be exact) without me killing a bird. Fortunately the last evening we got one working and Wesley took one bird.
This photo was taken from an old logging roadSummary
In all I hunted 16.5 days and killed 7 birds. I shot another that got away from me and witnessed several other slayings. So it was very eventful and although it didn’t unfold as I anticipated (it never does) many memories were created. I enjoyed the season and met many new people and made new friends. I felt lucky to have what I had and the new experiences under my belt. No season is ever the same and nothing ever happens the same way twice, for me at least.