As turkey season begins winding down for many of us, it’s good to reflect back on what made this season stand out from the rest. Every season is special when it’s your passion in life.
This season stands out because it proved me absolutely wrong.
I had just told Daniel Lee that we never actually shoot a bird in the initial spot where we set up in the morning. It always ends with us running through the hills with the decoys in one hand, guns in the other hand, leaving our backpacks behind, and hoping that we remembered to shove extra shells in our pockets.
Needless to say, my bird came in from across the field, and I was planted in the exact spot where we had set up at daylight. The Tom put on a show with his freakishly white head bobbing across the green field. He wanted to get to know our big Tom decoy and the svelte hens that were standing by.
I put the bead on his head as he came in closer. I watched him while he put on a show, and in the back of my mind I tried to wrap my mind around the level of respect I had for him. He didn’t know he was being watched by 4 people and countless camera angles. He didn’t realize that he was in any danger.
I had no remorse as I removed the safety on my beautiful black Remington Versa Max. I felt the cold trigger under my finger, and then I checked back to be absolutely sure that I had taken that safety off. I had. And just when my finger pulled that trigger, and just as I struggled to keep my dominant eye completely open during the trauma of the shot, the bird flopped. A sure sign that my aim was true.
I had snuggled in so close to the top of my gun that the recoil bruised my cheekbone. Getting down on the gun and keeping my eye on the prize are never a problem for me. To a fault, I will cuddle my gun into my cheek to be sure that there is no room for error.
And then I ran. I rushed the bird just in case if he had the energy to fly. He didn’t. My beautiful bird lay in the place where he fell. And I celebrated over him, and i prayed over him, and I basked in the glow of the story coming together.
And this season has ended for me just like every season before. I walk away from my time in the turkey woods with ticks, a sore cheekbone, and enough turkey breast to feed us and a few friends for an evening. That bird will live on in my mind as the one that proved me wrong in so many ways.
People often ask me what I love most about my job. I love that I was able to give up the need to be right a long time ago. And I love that nature proves me wrong over and over, and it just makes me have even more respect for it.