Monday, June 2, 2014

Off into the turkey sunset

ROA photo by Mac Arnold
In my element with the 'right' gun.

By Mac Arnold
ROA Editor

Can't believe it's June already. Where did the year go?

But it's summer, or at least close to being summer.

A summer though without a spring gobbler. Yep, that's right. I'm turkey-less.



I can say I went for it at the end much like the old days. Rolling along with little to no sleep despite pulling my eight hours at the grind.

The key for sure is I learned a few things. Most importantly, that in fact through my diligence in the Arnold weight room, I can heft the old trusty 12 gauge into the turkey woods, surgically repaired shoulders and all.

And I believe had I known this at the start of the spring gobbler season, the start of this piece would have started out much differently.

Those toms I was waiting on just outside the red zone with the youth H&R 20 gauge on May 6 instead would have likely succumbed to a hail of Hevi-Shot No. 5s.

But alas, it didn't happen that way. I held off because I needed a few more yards.

They slipped off into the woods to live and breed another day.

So with the season winding down, I decided I couldn't let an opportunity like that one pass again.

Out into the woods came the Mossberg 835 Ulti-Mag 12 gauge. It was amazing what a lift it did for the confidence. This longtime tool of the trade easily reaches out 50 yards and beyond.

Thing is, the turkeys seemed to get smarter and smarter with each hunt. On the last day, Saturday, May 31, despite a couple closing the yardage a few times after the morning fly down, they eventually turned and headed in the opposite direction.

By 7:30 a.m., it was pretty evident the old boys were enjoying themselves in the east field a few hundred yards away and could care less for my blind date croonings.

And at 9-ish, the jig was completely up when a text came in from the property owner saying my truck was blocking the farmer's tractor from getting in to do his plowing.

Later, for my entertainment, the competing hunter at the camp was incredulous at the tractor invasion.

In a text he sent long after I had already left, he said, "Great day to turkey (hunt) if the tractors weren't running ---!"

Ahhhhh, guess it wasn't a bad ending to the season after all.


Another element adding much fun and a relaxing break to the arduous final days of turkey was a May 30 Lake Erie walleye gig with Capt. Ron Levitan of R&D SportFishing Charters out of the Toledo Beach Marina in La Salle, Mich.  

Once again, under tough conditions of bluebird skies and little to no chop on the water, Capt. Ron worked enough magic so we just barely missed each getting our limits of tasty walleyes.

Along with longtime friends Walt Lucken III and T.J. Prisciandaro, the weather and timing of this trip made for a perfect day.

So maybe I don't have a couple turkey breasts in the freezer, big deal, but I do have some righteous wallie filets.

Mmmmmmmm. Eat up!

ROA photo by T.J. Prisciandaro
Yeah, I'm stoked after catching this
Lake Erie walleye on R&D Sport-
Fishing Charters in La Salle, Mich.