It is May 30th and here in Ontario turkey season is winding to a close. In many other areas the season has finished for quite some time. Everyone here at the hunt blog hopes all of our readers had a successful season; shared a few laughs, maybe harvested a nice bird and most importantly had a safe season spending time in the great outdoors.
Our prostaffers hunting outside of peel region harvested one good mature bird and had several near misses leaving 2 of the three fella’s chowing on tag soup. The beautiful Tom shown here will be accompanied by a story as soon as I can keep these camo crazed prostaffers out of the woods for an afternoon.
For myself in southwestern ontario, I had been planning for this to be our breakout turkey season. John, The hunt blog cofounder, and myself have never harvested a bird, but things were going to be different this spring. I had commandeered and scouted a new haunt that was home to some nice gobblers. We joined up early in the spring before the snow was even melted to ensure our gear was all tuned up and ready for action.
I was also finishing up my tenth year of post secondary education (yes I said 10 years) and had the entire month of May set aside for chasing my first gobbler. To top it all off my wife and I were expecting our first child, a little girl, in early June. I was on cloud nine to say the least. Tags were bought, bows strung, and the anticipation was palpable for April 25th, opening day.
Then came March 30th: I do my best to avoid making my blog posts overly personal in an attempt to keep my writing editorial or narrative in nature. But as fate would have it the events of my 2013 turkey season made it necessary to deviate slightly from this rule. As I said it was March 30th, my wife and I were visiting my parents for the holiday weekend when my wife’s water broke. It was a full 2 and a half months before our due date. To make a long story short we were transferred to the London Health Sciences Center and eventually gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Charlotte Louise (Charlie-Lou), on April 8th. For the 51 days since then we have and still are living with her in the London Childrens Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Before we get back to the turkey hunt I should tell everyone that our little miracle is doing great and we hope to have her home soon.
My thoughts about a legendary turkey season soon became so far out of mind that I had forgotten all about that little yellow tag slipped away in my wallet. April 28th, as we waited in line at the hospital cafe and I pulled out some cash for a much needed coffee when the tag slipped out. My wife picked it up with a slight chuckle as we laughed about the ‘monster Tom’ I spoke of all winter long. I had no intention about straying very far from the hospital but after some aggressive prodding from my wife, I decided to take a couple of hours one morning and slip into the shadows of budding timber and to take my mind off things.
On her advice I gathered my things the next morning and headed for the woods. I crept in quietly and was in place well before dawn and sat with my back against a knotted old Oak to watched the forest awaking from its slumber. Gobbles rang out in the distance, a barn owl swooped overhead, and a family of field mice scurried to and fro in last autumns forgotten leaves between my feet. I reflected on everything my new family and I had been through in the last month and felt an even deeper appreciation for natures bounty. I thought about how I would bring my daughter to these woods and teach her about respect for the outdoors, the circle of life and if she was so inclined… how to hunt big bucks!
The morning ended as it had started with a single foot print in the mud at the side of an old dirt road. There is no big gobbler at the end of this story, just a forest, a hunter and a Dad. I sat that morning in April, on my birthday, and perhaps it is too idealistic but I knew I was the most successful turkey hunter in the woods that day.
There will be many seasons to come and John as I have said before “we will get him next year!” My final parting words on this years turkey season is an important lesson I learned. I am not the track star I once was (or thought I might have been) and that creek was farther across than one might think. Walk the extra 50 yards. Use the bridge.
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