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Sunday, Sep. 14, 2014

Turkey hunting proves not for the faint of heart

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I hadn't been turkey hunting for the last two years, but my oldest son was coming to the Redfield farm, so I told him I would get a license and join him. I dug out the old camouflage outfit and searched among my shotgun shells for the turkey loads, finding only one.

The morning he was coming to hunt was last Friday; it was drizzling, 41 degrees and the wind was blowing from the north. We met at the farm at 6 a.m., and he was commenting that this was the first time he had ever hunted turkeys with waders. Paint Creek was nearly bank-full, so we just had to hope that the turkeys were on our side of the water.

I was less prepared than I thought. My turkey decoy had no stick to hold it up, but fortunately I had a weenie roasting stick available. I pierced the hen decoy and stuck the tines in the ground, hoping this would work. I then retreated back into a brush pile where I sat down on a low bucket and waited for the turkeys. From my vantage point, the decoy looked a little sick out front, so finally I went out and rearranged its presentation.

I had four layers of clothing on the upper body and three on the lower, and I was sitting on my bucket while the drizzle continued and rain was dripping off the trees. For all the success I had, I could have been hunting turkeys in a parking lot because there was nary a gobble and not even a lowly hen came to inspect my sorry looking decoy.

After about 90 minutes of sitting in the rain on the bucket, I could sense that hypothermia was setting in, so I wrapped myself as best I could in a large 55-gallon trash bag, which I am sure would have caused the turkeys to laugh if they had been around to observe me.

After 30 more minutes of shivering uncontrollably, I barely got off of the bucket and back into an upright position. Gathering up my paraphernalia, I waded back to the pickup through the squishy water, only to find my son was there ahead of me. He was smart enough to quit before I did. It was beginning to dawn on me why I hadn't been hunting turkeys for the last two years.

Dick Hedges
Fort Scott Community College