The Countdown Timer on my webpage will cross the 4-week threshold as I write this– 1 month to go before Spring Gobbler Season opens. Normally, I would be down at camp, scouting. Hopefully I would have the umbrella microphone up and be recording some hens. I’m not. I’m also not fretting too much. SuperCore’s birthday party is tomorrow, and between the inclement weather and the logistics of coming back to town for the party, I decided to stay back in town.
We did make it back down to Turkey Camp. KYHillChick and I went down in February. The place was just as I had left it in December. It had been a mild winter. It was due to hit 70 the next day, but she developed a toothache and I was nursing the onset of a cold. We spent less than 6 hours before pulling out for home, and the weekend weather has been marginal ever since.
For nearly 4 decades, I’ve been stewing every winter about the onset of Season. I just HAD to do something:
- Practice calling
- Listening to call tapes
- Watch Turkey Porn
- Sighting in
- Argue with other turkey hunters online
I’m not doing any of that this year. Sure, I’ve got my calls out. Sure, I’ll try them out here and there. However, I’m not doing all that much pre-season practice. These days, bone memory has taken over. I call about as good in January as I do in May. All the years of listening to my collection of call tapes have also worn thin. For years it was a personal ritual and then it got to be a thing with my sons. Finally, a year or so ago we decided it was time to ride to camp one time without listening to Ben Lee blaring in our years. It was a welcome change.
There is only so much turkey porn a man can watch. YouTube has finally given the turkey hunter more than any a mortal man can handle. Even Mooselette, my 5-year-old granddaughter finally asks, “Grandpa, can we watch something else?”
Everyone in the family has now gone 5 years using the same turkey load. Outside of running 1 round to check function, the Sighting In Weekend is now off the schedule.
That leaves stress shopping and arguing with turkey hunters online. These have been hobbies in and of themselves. However, I find myself surprisingly resistant to both. You have to understand, that for decades I would haunt the aisles of sporting goods stores looking for that winning edge. To some extent, the Internet cured me of that. I could stay home and shop. However, outside of a new bag for my calls this year, I have not been doing all that much shopping.
Two weekends ago, I woke up on Saturday morning with a major jones. I just could not take it anymore. In a blinding snowstorm, I drove the half-hour’s ride up north to Cabelas and wandered their aisles. For an hour’s work, I came back home with nothing more than a box of 9mm ammo. No calls. No camo clothing. I asked KYHillChick to take my temperature. There must be something wrong with me.
I’m also not doing any online arguing with turkey hunters this year. My association with T&TH seems to be ending. Their forum is dying with a whimper. Their magazine died ages ago. I have not found a suitable home to replace it.
Mind you, I don’t have a serious agenda, but I do like jousting with those that do. You can read my various manifestos on this weblog. I generally take a middle road on everything, and my opinions are based on 4 decades in the sport. I am not into a whole lot of gadgets. I try to keep my kit light. I am also not bothered if someone feels the need to crawl into a $200 pop up blind and hunt with a $2K shotgun lobbing $10 shells at the birds. I just have to ask why?
On the other hand, I always felt the Old Schoolers were like the nasty old men shooing the school kids off their lawn. I felt there were now enough turkeys out there for everyone. If you want to go out with one call and sit with your back to a tree, fine. Blinds and Dekes? Cool. What I do find is that sitting with my back to a large tree with a small number of calls and a scratch-n-dent shotgun is sufficient. What is odd is that now folks use that as evidence that I’m now an Old Schooler. For the most part, I’m at peace.