First Thunder Chicken Down!

Since I have been schooling myself in all things archery and decided to break into bowhunting this fall, I figured it was important to get some hunting experience under my belt. I have had short encounters as a kid in the woods with my Dad, but didn’t express enough interest as a child to get serious about hunting at an early age. The approaching hunting season happened to be Spring Turkey, so that is what I set out to conquer. After securing one of my friends, who happens to come from a long line of turkey hunting fanatics, I dove into as much literature on the birds as I could. I would wake my husband up at night with the glow of my iPhone lighting up the room while researching into the am hours details about turkey scat and scratchings, yelps and clucks, and “putting the birds to bed.”

Leading up to opening day, I bought my license and tags, a slate call, and lightweight camo. The night before was chaos as both myself and turkey hunting trainer, George, were scrambling for babysitters for our toddlers. The next morning we got into the woods kind of late and the spot on my property was absent of any sign of turkeys. The decision was made to move up closer to the mountain. We climbed a trail near the Delaware Water Gap practically to the top, stopping, calling, listening the whole way up and down but still nothing. With about two hours left to hunt, George made a desperate call at a new spot at an access road outside his truck. Immediately our heads spun towards a gobble! We rushed to get into a decent place to set up a decoy nearby. I hid myself in a throng of limbs from a fallen tree and George set up a few yards behind calling for me. I watched the Tom trek up the hill right away, but he took a path that was a little far out and littered with wide trees, all of which he decided to stop behind. He ended up walking so close to George calling that he missed our decoy. We let him move on so we could set up again in a new spot.

The next spot proved to have the same tease of the turkey coming to answer the calls but lingering just far away that the shot was difficult. With only about 45 minutes left to hunt, I took a shot but missed. The bird jumped but didn’t take off, so we decided it was now or never. We setup one last time a bit further ahead, and again, he answered our calls but stayed just out of range on the opposite side of a huge fallen tree. At this point, I am fuming, my first hunt and I have a a nice looking gobbler practically begging me to take him but teasing me at the same time. I am down to the wire with time, only about 20 mins left, and I need to get closer. I manage to close the gap by half the distance and peek out from my bunker of pine trees and finally have the shot! The adrenaline rush was amazing, it was like a primal chemical flowing through my veins and I was instantly addicted. After some repetitive high fiving, tagging the bird, and a hands on lesson in gutting and cleaning, I had a large spring gobbler with a 9” beard and ¾” spurs to be proud of. It was pretty much one of the craziest turkey stories in George’s arsenal and I get to re-tell it as my first hunting success! We deep-fried that Tom and ate every last bite in a bunch of delicious meals that I’ll have to share at some point!

Jun 12, 2013 | Category: Blog | Comments: 1


One comment on “First Thunder Chicken Down!

  1. Tom Payton

    Very Cool Jess! That is pretty cool to get that opportunity . Turkey hunting is an absolute blast. As you’ve discovered! Congrats !!

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