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The Fool Returneth to Folly Ridge

recap1Turkey hunters mess up. It’s part of the deal. We still get upset about it, of course, but you really can’t. Without blunders and low points during a spring season, you can’t have deft maneuvers and apex moments.

During the final week of Wisconsin’s season, I experienced a blunder-filled low point. I would say I won’t bore you with the details, but that’d be a lie. Basically, I still don’t want to relive it. Let’s just say it involved a boogered gobbler and, 10 minutes later, a missed gobbler. And flying turkeys. And hyphenated cuss words. And possibly the contemplation of a classified ad selling turkey hunting equipment.

The next morning, I vowed to do better. And I did. Still, by midmorning, I had an open tag, and the turkeys at my little hotspot had quieted down and wandered off. As I walked back to my truck, I considered returning to the pretty ridge where I’d messed up so badly the previous day.

“You’re being stubborn,” I thought. “Those turkeys won’t be right again for a while.”

But then I reconsidered. I’ve seen turkeys gobble their heads off 30 minutes after a coyote attack. Being spooked once by a clumsy hunter shouldn’t have affected the ridge turkeys too much.

A half-hour later, I stood atop the ridge and yelped. To my surprise, a gobbler responded, albeit at the edge of my hearing ability. I sat and yelped some more. The gobbler responded and seemed to move closer.

Realizing I was in a poor position to work the turkey, I slipped 100 yards down the ridge and found a good setup. When I sat and yelped again, there was no doubt the turkey was coming.

Five minutes of ferocious gobbling later, drumming filled the air, and the tips of a tail fan appeared over the top of the ridge. When the bird’s white head popped up at 15 steps, the shot met it almost instantly. Turkey down. Redemption accomplished.

Was my bird the one I’d spooked the previous day? Maybe the one I missed? Perhaps. I don’t know. It was a red-hot midmorning gobbler on a gorgeous May day. That was all I cared about.

Oh, and perhaps the realization that low points often bring great moments to persistent turkey hunters.

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