by Brian Lovett, T&TH editor
What a way to start the Spring 2011 season.
Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. Somewhere in the Florida pasture, four Osceola gobblers and numerous hens were going about their turkey business.
I was hunting with Tad Brown of Flambeau Outdoors and Jud Carter, a Flambeau Outdoors pro-staffer. We’d spotted the birds from an overgrown logging road, and I’d belly-crawled through several yards of briars to a fence corner to view the field.
That’s when the fun started. Just as I was about to peek around the corner of the fence, a hen popped up from a low spot and glared at me. I did the only logical thing: stayed still, baking in the mid-morning sun and letting dozens of creepy-crawlies squirm on my hands and neck.
After a few agonizing minutes, the hen began to drift away. That’s when I heard a jake yawking to my left. Soon after, the unmistakable “pfft-duuum” of drumming filled the air. An unseen breeding flock was apparently headed right at me, so I had to stick tight.
One by one, hens filtered past — some as close as 15 feet. Then a solitary longbeard cruised through the middle of the field. The drumming got closer, but I still couldn’t see the other gobblers. Meanwhile, the temperature had increased to 80-some degrees, and I was wallowing in sweat.
Finally, with seven hens feeding within 15 steps, two strutters appeared and stopped behind some pasture brush.
“One more step,” I thought.
And for once, the lead gobbler seemed to listen, taking two steps into the open. Just as I adjusted my gun, one of the hens made me and putted. The longbeard raised his head, and I dropped him.
Giving Brown and Carter the thumbs-up sign, I celebrated the start of another turkey season. Based on my multiple tick bites and aching, sunburned neck, it was off to one heck of a start.