Jenn’s First Bird

Crossposted from Grow the Hunt

October 12, 2010

Jenn’s First Bird

– By Brandon Wikman

Hunting turkey can be a pursuit of unpredictable obstacles that weave themselves into a broken basket that can only carry air. Big birds are notorious for pecking your intelligence into the ground. Often times, they seem to make me want to pluck my hair follicles out! This week I strutted out of the woods slightly smarter and much more successful.

This past weekend meant the world to me. I wanted to serve my dear friend Jenn a hen dinner served on a silver platter. My focus was purely on my forest’s feathered friend, turkey.  A peculiar critter that eludes even the most tactful hunter in the woods, these birds live and die by their keen eyesight. It’s as if turkey sport a pair of Nikon’s on their goofy faces, not to mention their uncanny ability to survive in a wilderness seemingly fit for only the most dominant bush creatures.

I had one day to put my best efforts into scouting and zeroing-in on a bird for Jenn. I began my woodland excursion in the morning while trekking farm fields for any visual evidence of footprints, scat or feathers. During my big search I happened to stumble across an alfalfa field that graciously held a handful of feathers. As I collected field feathers and began to part the lush greens in search for prints, I was convinced that this was a gobbling good spot.

Instantaneously, the blind was erected. Turkey aren’t as tent-blind savvy as whitetail, but I still brushed-up the blind to ease any doubts. My handsaw was put to action. Woodchips flew like sparks as the saw’s teeth shredded through the lumber. Pine boughs were thrown into a heaping pile that would soon be decorating my blind. Pine trees are incredible for throwing down a covert strategy that will make you invisible; the limbs are dressed with so many finger-like needles that vanish your outline in a matter of seconds. My blind looked like a pine hut that came directly from the early era of caveman. My ancient cavern would soon be put to the ultimate turkey test once Jenn arrived to hunt tomorrow.

IMG_5037 The next morning was show time. All I had to do was hope that the flock of birds wouldn’t forget their travel route, which bypassed the blind at a mere 10-yards. Jenn and I shuffled to the blind at first-light. As she jacked ammo into the shotgun I crossed my fingers and wished for Jenn to blast her very first bird.

The sun cast a balance of warmth on the blossoming fall forage while the fog faded, and flocks of geese darted into the horizon from bowling balls to bb’s. This Mother Earth moment was instantly carved into my memory and cleansed my soul. It was nature at its very best. We sat, watched and waited.

Suddenly, my eyes grabbed a flashy bolt of black. Both Jenn and I squinted out of the window and spotted the flock scratching their way from the woods into the field. Beams of sunrays accented the feathers as I gawked at my plan working to perfection. Jenn snuggled the gun into her shoulder as I continued to throw a one man show circus in my imagination. One-by-one the birds entered the field. Jenn selected the closest turkey and without much guidance provided her own opportunity to shoot. The faint click of the safety was followed by the booming blast of her gun. There were birds and feathers scattered everywhere! It was as if the sun had been abruptly blocked and floating feathers and darting birds choked all light. All the while, I turned to look at the smile on Jenn’s face and it lit the world back up.

IMG_5516-ADJ As the commotion of wing beats and puttering bird noises ceased, I turned my attention to a beautiful bird lying on the ground. The elation of joy was hard to beat for the experience of a surefire plan, which is difficult to come by. I counted my blessings that morning and shared my love and passion with someone I deeply care for.