Good news: Three gobblers were choking themselves in a tree 90 yards away.
Bad news: I had about two hours to kill one and then hit the road for my annual Missouri hunt.
Tick, tick, tick ... .
It was the second period of Wisconsin's Spring 2010 turkey season. I'd struck out the first day, leaving myself only a quick morning hunt before heading south. Thankfully, I was on the same ridge with the gobblers, and they were pepper-hot.
The birds seemed to hang in the tree forever, even though I'd only tree-yelped to them once. Finally, at about 6:30 a.m., I saw the lead gobbler pitch off the tree and fly toward me. His buddies followed. I yelped softly on a mouth call, and the birds hammered back.
The gun came up, and my heart rate quickened. Drumming filled the morning air, and I peered intently through the trees, looking for the telltale softball head.
I yelped again, and the birds gobbled from the same spot, not 50 steps away.
"Come on," I thought. "Don't blow this one."
Just then, I saw the dark form of a gobbler trotting toward me. Two others followed. The lead bird stopped for a second, blew up into strut, and then stepped into the open to look for the hen he'd heard. Remington's Wingmaster HD No. 6 shot brought the hunt to a quick conclusion.
"6:35 a.m.," I thought. "Plenty of time to clean the gobbler and maybe even catch a nap."
Sure enough, I even got on the road early. When I reached Missouri, however, I didn't like what I found.