The soft red beam from a headlamp clicks off, replaced now only by faint moonlight, I slow my steps until my eyes adjust to the darkness. Quiet blankets the earth in the pre-dawn hours. The sound of footsteps cutting through the prairie grass are carried off behind me as a gentle breeze kisses my face. A modest cut in the prairie snakes its way down toward the lower ditch lined with tall cottonwoods, paralleling a stream, marking my destination.
Nestled against a small pine, a dark form is now barely visible in the blackness. Climbing into my blind, the silence is disturbed only by a slow and steady unzipping of the windows, cutting the darkness, revealing only a glimmer of moonlight into the pitch black hideout. I have enough light to pull decoys out and get everything situated, as I prop my 20 gauge beretta against the wall of the blind, a quick check with the red headlight beam is done which reveals no spiders, snakes or other intruders in my home for the morning. A girl hunting solo is now confident, comfortable and ready for the world to wake up around her.
Midway into the hour before sun-up, an owl swoops down landing on a branch visible from my blind window and makes his presence known. The sound that answers his soft "Hoo..h'HOO-hoo-hoo" would make even a non-turkey hunter's heart explode with excitement and wonder. The tree towering above the blind, not even 50 yards away, erupts with gobbles. I can now hardly contain my excitement, waiting on shooting light, listening to turkeys gobble from the limb right above me. I sit listening to the gobbles, just taking it all in. Another owl in the not so far distance joins in the fun, prompting even more gobbles from the towering trees above me.
Holding my new Colorado custom glass call, I recall a conversation prior to our hunting trip. It was mentioned that I would have a tough time hunting by myself this trip since I wasn't as good a caller as others. Words that were absorbed, not denied but not taken to heart either. I was just happy to have the opportunity to hunt, regardless if it I had to do it solo. Honestly, I was up for the challenge! Listening closely to what was happening in the trees above me, I wait for the first hen to wake up. At the sound of the first cluck, I try my best to match her call. A few more strikes on the call and the Toms know there is a "hen" up by me. The waiting game begins.
There is no mistaking the sound of turkeys flying down from their roosts. The first one pitches down into the field on the other side of the creek bed, as branches unburden their load, and flapping of wings reveal the next round of the game is about to begin. One, two, three, four, and I begin loosing count as the sequence continues. Then silence.
It doesn't take long to spot them. Peeking through the slit in the back window of my blind, I can now see several toms fanned up, showing off for the ladies. Letting out a few calls, I try my best to convince them to cross back over the creek and compete for the hen decoy in front of my strutting jake. No luck.
Apparently my calling wasn't too bad though because shortly after the toms made their way up the creek bed, I heard another gobble coming my way. Another quick check through the back window and three turkeys were coming in FAST! I had enough time to pull up my binoculars, determine they were jakes and make the decision that I would still fill a tag if presented with a shot. With my gun at the ready, I made one last call and sat down with my back to the creek, watching my decoys on the hill, straining to listen for their next move. A distinct flap of turkey wings told me they made the commitment, crossing the creek behind me. It was only a matter of seconds before they were at the decoys. Game over. They may have hung around and tried to beat up on my decoy, which would be fun to watch, but I didn't waste any time finding out. My first turkey was down and I'm a little proud that I made it happen hunting solo, calling them in and putting my tag on a bird!
We joked about my turkey calling afterwards and I received a couple apologies. In all fairness, I surprised myself a little and will admit that I didn't practice calling like I should have and don't know how to use a mouth reed for turkey calling. That's okay... gives me something to strive for next time!
I ended up with a second turkey this trip also! Two solo hunts.. one morning and one evening set and two tags punched (more on the second hunt later). WOW! That never happens for me. Don't mess around with this momma!
From the Draw
We are devoted to sharing our bowhunting stories. We have a passion for passing on our hunting heritage to our kids. From the draw in the mountains to the draw on paper, the moments live on.