Editor’s Note: Tracy Groves, the Mossy Oak Regional ProStaff Manager for Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and New York, is a licensed minister. He’s also the founder and president of Heartwood Outdoors, a nonprofit organization that works with children who come from single parent homes and has a 160-acre farm in Big Pool, Maryland. At the farm, Groves helps teach the children about the outdoors, including archery and hunting skills and moral values.
When the alarm clock goes off an hour or two before daylight, many of us struggle with fully awakening and climbing out of that warm, comfortable bed. We have to go out in the weather whether it’s rainy, cold, windy, dark or just mild to hunt. We have to start walking and listening for turkeys. If we don’t locate a gobbler to hunt until the middle of the morning or later in the morning, we’ll start thinking about how far we've walked and how unsuccessful we've been and dwelling on those facts.
However, I'm really looking forward to turkey season this year. For 2 years, I've been battling a problem that we all thought was cancer. In 2014, the doctors discovered a problem in a gland in my body that was producing too much adrenaline. My blood pressure would skyrocket into the 190s, like 190/120. The doctors thought it could have been cancer, but they weren’t sure. But apparently, the doctors have it under control now. Every morning during turkey season, when that alarm goes off, I feel blessed just to be able to wake up. When I grab something to eat as I run out the door, I feel blessed that I can eat. When I get outdoors and see the stars before the sun comes up, I feel blessed that I get to see another day. When I start walking - whether I’ve heard a turkey or not, I feel blessed that I can walk, I can go hunting, and I've got another day to live.
From this medical experience, I’ve learned that many of the facets of turkey hunting that I’ve once taken for granted now have become very important to me. Instead of feeling bad that I have to get out from under the covers when the alarm goes off, I’m glad I can get out from under the covers when the alarm goes off. All the things about turkey hunting that may have seemed to be hassles or problems, now, I realize are blessings that are meant for me to enjoy. When I realize that both can have been taken away from me in a blink of an eye, I have a different perspective about life and turkey hunting now. Every day I get to go turkey hunting, each time I get to share the experience of turkey hunting with someone else, and every day I get to see and hear a gobbler, I realize how blessed I truly am. Turkey hunting has become to mean so much more to me now than it did 7-months ago.