I grew up in Champion, Ohio, seven miles away from where I live now, and we didn’t have any turkeys. I majored in wildlife management at Hocking Tech, which was four hours from my home.
When I was in college, we learned everything we could about wildlife management in two years. One of our assignments was to go out into the woods every morning and count the number of turkeys we heard gobbling. The first morning I went out and heard my first wild turkey gobble; I was hooked. I told my partner that I wanted to hunt those birds. We were so busy with our classes, I didn’t get to hunt those turkeys.
Later in the fall, I went on a deer hunt and was sitting in a tree stand while my uncle was trying to drive a deer to me. Apparently he flushed a flock of turkeys, because I saw these big, black creatures coming toward me running, and I thought to myself, “Oh gosh, those are wild turkeys!” Then the turkeys began to fly over my head. I was totally amazed at how big those birds were and the awesome sight they made. Next I started looking up YouTube videos about turkeys, learning the wild turkey’s vocabulary and buying calls to mimic them. I thought that the wild turkey was the coolest thing I’d ever seen in the woods. I wanted to hunt and call turkeys.
I’m able to hunt most afternoons, since I get off at 2 p.m. Last year we were laid off for several weeks during turkey season, so I was able to hunt every single day. This year I was laid off for four weeks and could hunt every single day. I also get five weeks of vacation, so when I say I hunt 100 days a year, not all of those are full days. However, when I hunt after work, I still can put in four hours of turkey hunting.
From the first time I ever heard a wild turkey gobble and saw wild turkeys in the woods, I’ve been totally fascinated with the bird and the possibility of hunting them. I guess I’ll have to be classified as a 100-percent turkey addict.
Tomorrow: The Traveling Turkey Hunter