I got to camp Friday afternoon the day before the 2011 Spring Gobbler Opener. This was the first time someone would be at camp since mid-December. This four-month over-winter stretch is the longest camp sits empty and the brave soul or souls who open it up for the year never know what they’ll find.
I noticed right away the windows were fogged shut from the inside and thought…”that can’t be good”. The front door was stuck from swelling and when I finally forced my way in this is what I found.
The roof over the front room had sprung a major leak causing two large sections of drywall to collapse. There was water on the floor and the furniture was soaked…what a mess! I hauled the wet sheetrock, insulation and furniture outside and mopped up the floor…good enough for now. I headed down to the local gun club to shoot a couple of rounds of trap and more importantly, catch up with local friends I hadn’t seen since last fall/early winter.
Hunting was uneventful Saturday, called one in but he hung up and ended up busting me (snuck in and spotted me moving). I spent the afternoon finishing the clean-up in the front room.
My other two camp members arrived Sunday.
We built a fire and burned the wet furniture, threw an old box springs and mattress on too.
The Martians have landed lol.
Monday I called in a Jake and left him walk. An hour later I called in a hen with a nice longbeard following her. I had him dead-to-rights at 35 yards and was dumbfounded when he failed to drop at the shot. As I was pacing off the shot I noticed this little sapling for the first time. It was 20 yards from where I shot and caught up most of the pellets.
The longbeard was standing in front of that sapling down there, 15 yards beyond the tree I hit.
Tuesday was a total washout with steady, sometimes heavy rain all morning. I went out early, got soaked and went back out for the last hour and a half to get soaked again. Rex’s chili sure tasted good after that. Here he is enjoying his homemade chili over a bed of Fritos.
The Nodding Red Trillium is one of my favorite native plants.
Anybody know what these are? My buddy says they are scarlet caps but I don’t think so?
Wednesday was a big day at camp. I called in a nice longbeard and killed it a little before seven.
I got back to camp and my buddy’s truck was there. He had killed one also. He killed his longbeard at 6:27, 23 minutes before me. He said he heard me shoot (we were ˝ mile or so apart) while he was loading his bird in his truck. The birds were nearly identical; both weighed 19 pounds and had 8˝” beards. Mine had spurs 15/16 and 1”, his had spurs that were both 1 1/16” long.
I’ve seen plenty of pairs of grouse, lots of pheasants and even a couple pair of woodcock hanging from this hook on the porch but I’ve never seen a pair of turkeys hanging there before.
I make wingbone calls. I made this one for my buddy out of the bones of a spring gobbler he killed last year. I’m no artist, so I cringed when he ask for a red trillium and brook trout to be included on the call. He liked it, that’s all that matters. I thought it was pretty cool that he used this call to call in and kill a gobbler exactly one year, not only to the day but, within ten minutes of when he killed the one the wingbone came from.
The giddiness of success seems to have made him a bit crazy.
Here we are having my homemade apple-venison sausage for supper.
It was Mike’s turn to dry dishes but he offered to clean the guns instead.
I was quick to agree, Rex and I were done with dish duty long before he was done cleaning guns.
Rex and Mike pulled out Thursday. Mike got up at 4:00 A.M to see me off before I went hunting and Rex stuck around until afternoon to have lunch with me before he left. Friday I hunted with a local friend.
We found these tracks, anybody know what they are?
Coming home from the trap shoot Friday evening I saw these two red fox gobbling up some sort of insects in this field. I think they were crickets but I’m not positive.
One of the big highlights this trip was seeing a sow black bear with three small cubs. I was coming up a steep skid trail and they were walking down the slope. I was behind a big cherry tree when I saw them so had a chance to get the camera out. At forty yards she turned onto the skid trail and started toward me. I had the camera up and was waiting for it to load (it was taking forever). If I’d have had the courage to wait a few more seconds for it to load I would have had the picture of a lifetime. Instead, at about twenty yards I shouted at her and waved my free arm causing all four to run back up the hill the way they’d come. All I got was this pic of one cub’s head and another’s rear end (hard to see but they are there).
It was a great Turkey Camp with my good friends and I’ll end it with one of my favorite pics of the three of us with the “turkey double”.