Sunday, April 19, 2009

My first Turkey Tale (it is a long one)

I am sitting here trying to figure out where to begin. The past few days have been quite eventful. I so wish I had had a video camera clipped to the bill of my hat to capture everything my eyes saw and my ears heard the past two days. It was a time we will never forget.

I'll first say that the boys have been counting down the days to this turkey trip. Everyone they encounter knew this trip was coming. Before we could go, the yard had to be mowed and the house had to be cleaned. Here are the boys eagerly helping us clean:

So we got the house cleaned and the boys packed ALL of their turkey stuff. They laid out their clothes and were off to sleep. They slept in their sleeping bags on the floor in our bedroom. The plan was to get up and leave around 8:00 A.M. (Sat) and start our 5 hour journey. Jax was the first one awake. He jumped in our bed around 6:30 and said "it's daylight, it's daylight" then he started singing, "I'm going turkey hunting, I'm going turkey hunting, Oh yeah." We got ready pretty fast and headed out. About half way there, Chris told them they should take a nap so that they would be rested up for the big day and it would also make the trip go by faster. Unbelievably, they threw their blankets over their heads and both fell asleep. Brooks slept a lot longer but they both took a nap. Seriously!!!

We got to the ranch and the boys and I got to me Greg and Linda, the people that lease the land and guide the hunts. They got a big kick out of the boys excitement. Greg said to get in the truck and lets go. He told Linda we would be back at dark. We were all decked out in full camo. I had to wear Chris' snake boots, but better a boot be too big than too small. So we drove for about 5 minutes and Greg stopped the truck. He and Chris got out of the truck and left us there. Chris called one time and a turkey immediately cut him off with his gobble. We all looked at each other and Greg told us to take off he was going to stay at the truck. You didn't have to tell us twice. Head nets were flying everywhere and we were all running down the road. Chris had the gun, Jax had the tripod and I had Brooks. Chris told me where to sit and put Brooks in my lap. We snuggled up to a nice sticker bush and waited. Jax and Chris set up and then changed their mind and moved to another bush. They set down and got ready. Chris called again and the bird got closer. We could hear him spitting and drumming. I looked up and saw a turkey walking in. I couldn't believe how easy it was so far. The way I understood it, turkey hunting was hard. This seemed way too easy. Well, at this point the turkey was 8 yards from Jax and Chris. Chris said to Jax "He is right there, don't look." What did Jax do, he looked, and the turkey walked right out of there. Bummer!!! I was speechless. So we hustled back to the truck where Greg was still laughing at us taking off all strung out trying to get our head nets on. You know it was a first for Brooks and I and Chris was so excited he couldn't think straight. So anyway, we drove around to a couple of spots to call and listen and hear nothing. We park and walk around for about an hour. The country in west Texas is unlike anything I have ever seen. It is so rocky and desert like. We followed each other in a straight line as we covered a small piece of land. Everyone but me was looking and listening for turkeys, I was looking for rattlesnakes. I just knew I was about to see a "rattle bug" as they call them. Luckily I never did. After our trek we got back in the truck and drove to a couple more spots to listen. Nothing. Then Greg said he had to go check on the other guys hunting and he was going to drop us off in a good spot and pick us up at dark. Cool. He dropped us off and the 4 of us cuddled up and listened to Chris call for about 15 minutes. Not one gobbler answered. We got up and walked a bit. Chris called and we heard one off in the distance. He kept calling and it seemed he was getting closer. Chris put Brooks and I in a good spot and then set up for he and Jax. He called and the bird got closer and closer. My heart was pounding and Brooks was being pretty still. Then all of a sudden I saw the turkey. He came walking in in full strut. He was gorgeous. I mean absolutely gorgeous. The sun was going down and it was shining right through the back of his feathers. It was like he was lit up. Jax was as ready as ever. I couldn't hear what Chris was telling him but he later said he told him to "shoot him now" but Jax said "I can't see his head" so he waited a second and then Jax drilled him at 10 yards. Talk about excited, we all took off to see him. Chris tried to pick the turkey up but he kicked a little so we let him be for a couple of minutes. We were high fiving and Jax was beside himself. While we were waiting Jax said "momma did you see my face, I was smiling the whole time I shot that turkey!" It was so cute. He did get popped in the cheek by the gun but he was so excited it didn't matter. Chris grabbed the turkey and we stood out by the road waiting for our ride. We got a little bored and Chris tried to call in another one but they were on the way to roost. They were talking to us though!

Greg picked us up and put Jax's turkey in the back of the truck. He wanted to ride in the back with his turkey but we wouldn't let him. He was mad but he got over it. Luckily, all of the other guys had killed too. Everyone was happy and couldn't believe that a 6 year old had killed one. Chris couldn't believe it either and told Jax that he was 16 when he killed his first turkey. We threw the whole turkey in the freezer because Jax wants it mounted to hang in his bedroom. We ate dinner and then headed back to the motel. We had to get some sleep because we were going to come back in the morning to try and let Brooks shoot one. He was so pumped that it was going to be his turn. He just asked his daddy "will you hold my ears while I shoot?" We drove to the motel and crashed out. We got up about 6:00 and got ready fast and packed up all of the stuff in the car. Brooks was ready. We knew Greg would be up and waiting on us. It was still dark and we were headed to the ranch doing about 60 MPH when all of a sudden all we saw were deer running in the road. Chris slowed way down and missed 2 of them but a spike slammed into the very front drivers side. It kind of happened in slow motion. I was leaning up to look around Chris and I saw deer everywhere when the air bag smacked me in the chin. Let me tell you that is a weird thing if you haven't experienced it. The air bag deploying sounds like a gunshot and smells like one too. We stopped the car and all kind of looked at each other. No one was scared, just startled. Brooks was just concerned about still getting to hunt. We got out of the car and checked out the front of the poor Yukon. She was not in good shape. The bumper, hood and front drivers side was mangled. There were hoses hanging out leaking all over the shoulder. We called Greg and he rescued us and we sat in his truck while we figured out what to do. We called 911 and they called the police and a wrecker. Greg took us back to the house while Chris stayed and took care of all of that. Somewhere during that time he found out that the closest car rental place was a good hour away. Nice. Well Greg is as good a gold and said he would take us all the way home if he had too. Of course we didn't want to put him out one second so we wouldn't let him do that. He and all of us were just glad no one was hurt. I guess the deer are so thick people hit them left and right there. We were told that a lot of people get hurt when the deer gets under your tire and flips your car. Oh, I hadn't thought about that. Once again thankful that we weren't hurt. We emptied out the Yukon and filled up Greg's big Ford and headed to San Angelo to get us a car. I have to say that Brooks was not happy. We were in the truck with Greg when he tried to say with out crying, "it is not fair if Jax gets to kill and turkey and I don't." It broke all of our hearts! The way he said it. He paused between every word trying not to cry. His little chin was quivering. It was pitiful. I thought Chris was going to cry. Greg wants us to come back soon and get him a turkey but we will have to see how it all works out. I know Greg has 2 deer picked out for them to kill in the fall and they are excited about that.

I have to say that I am so thrilled that I got to be a part of something that my boys and husband are so passionate about. I have lived through many turkey seasons but never have got to experience what I have heard so much about. I loved every minute of it and was pleasantly surprised at how much fun it was. It was truly awesome. I didn't have the urge to grab the gun and shoot the turkey myself but it was indescribable being there. Chris said it was the best hunt he has ever been on and I guess I would have to say the same wouldn't I.

We don't know what will become of the Yukon, she is not worth a whole lot. She has a few miles on her, 172,000! We had to leave her behind for now. We did end up with a bright red impala. Ha! Guess we will see what our insurance says tomorrow and I will let you all know. I have to go print off some pictures for Jax. He wants to take them to school tomorrow. He wanted me to print 23 so he could give one to everyone in his class but I talked him into 2. His teacher's husband hunts and we will give her one to take home.

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