Easter morning marked my final chance to hunt during Wisconsin's second Spring 2011 turkey period. And it had been a tough week.
I'd come close — twice — in the snow the previous Wednesday. Thursday had been a face-off with a bird that refused to move. Friday was much the same. Saturday had been wet and unproductive. But Sunday dawned still and quiet.
The birds gobbled, too — but just not on the property I was hunting. I'd tried to pull a turkey from the neighbor's, but he seemed content to stay put. With a 9 a.m. Easter brunch deadline, it didn't look good.
Figuring I had an hour left, I high-tailed it to another property, scaled a small hill and sat down by a large oak. It was 7:10 a.m. I hadn't even called when two gobbles erupted from far behind me.
I yelped a few times on a slate, and the birds hammered back; hot but a figurative mile away. In fact, as I continued calling, the turkeys seemed to drift farther.
After I switched to an aluminum call, the turkeys gobbled from the base of the ridge. Holy smokes! They were coming. I quickly wheeled around the tree, trudged 20 steps closer to the peak of the ridge and set up.
My next yelps were met with firecracker gobbles 100 yards away. I called once more, readied my gun and scoured the woods with my eyes.
Within seconds, drumming to my left let me know the birds had arrived. The strutter popped into view first, followed by his looker buddy. I eased my gun to the left, waited for the bird to raise his head and then ended the hunt. It was 7:20 a.m.
After looking all week for a hot turkey, I'd finally found one — OK, two — with less than a half-hour to hunt. Suddenly, the hardships of the weeks seemed worthwhile.
And I was even early for Easter brunch.