No matter how good turkey hunting is at the end of the season — and it was good — there's always a bird that leaves you shaking your head and gets you thinking about next spring.
I met mine on the final day of Wisconsin's Spring 2012 hunt. As I drove past a familiar farm, I saw him strutting in the corner of a plowed field, with three jakes as wing-men. After chatting briefly with the landowner, I slipped out of my truck and gave chase.
I eased through the woods until I was about 100 yards from where I'd seen him. At my first soft yelps, he hammered out a response.
"What a way to end the season," I thought.
And that was the last I heard from him. I eased to the field edge and didn't see the bird, so I moved forward about 100 yards. Again, my first yelps were met by a gobble — 100 yards farther west.
You guessed it. He shut up again. After a few minutes, I looked for the bird and then slipped to the edge of the property to make a last stand. A crow sounded off in the distance, and the gobbler responded — again 100 yards to the west. I got him going briefly with a box all, but then — all together, now — he shut up.
I waited for a half-hour and then checked the neighbor's field. Nothing. It was time to call it a season.
That evening, my phone lit up with a text from a buddy.
"The bird was back at Ray's," it said. "Right in that corner. Tried to bushwhack him, but he slipped into the woods."
Figuring the turkey had a sense of humor, I drove past the farm at noon the next day. Sure enough, there was the gobbler — strutting 60 steps off the road, right where I'd set up the previous day.
Like I said, one always leaves you laughing.