Well, I’m down one turkey load. I got my bird yesterday around 2:30 p.m., a nice, 16-pound jake with a 120-millimetre beard. I had been planning to hold out for a tom, but after a four-hour soaking Thursday night and a fruitless blustery morning yesterday, that jake sure looked good when he came in hot with his two buddies. Plus, I was on a short lease, as I had to be back in Aurora by 5:30 for my son’s hockey tryout.
I was hunting with my friend Rob Pye, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters’ manager of membership marketing and corporate messaging. He and his dad, Clarence, have earned permission to hunt several sweet properties in the Orillia area, so many thanks, Rob and Clarence, for the invite. Yesterday afternoon, Rob and I split up on one of those properties and, we learned later after comparing notes, we were both soon working some keen gobblers.
After 90 minutes or so, my birds went dark. I then discovered they were yakking back from the other side of some flood land (and were likely not interested in getting their feet wet), so I moved my set-up to the other side of the soggy patch along an old fencerow.
About a half-hour in, Rob pitched up. Turns out he’d likely been working the same birds. We were about to make a new game plan when I heard a sharp, distant gobble, so we decided to stay put. Rob called first on his box, which produced quite a raspy hen call. The birds lit up, so Rob kept on it and within 15 minutes I spied them coming in through a clearing in the forest. Then they were: three jakes, 30 yards out, right in my shooting lane, looking quizzically at the hen deke I’d put out. Bang. End of story—until tonight, that is, when my bird goes on the table.
And yes, Bryan Sher, my friend, I’m saving a breast and a drumstick just for you.