By Michelle Molitor
My family jokes that I pay too much attention to the random nature things than actual hunting. But I think they are just jealous of the things I find entertaining or see when I’m hunting – like a random cluster of wild carrots while deer hunting. This spring turkey season wasn’t any different. There is a WMA I found that I have dubbed my turkey hunting grounds. It’s quite a long trek into the land to get to ‘my spot’ but I couldn’t imagine going anywhere else.
The beginning of the trek from the parking lot to my spot passes by a large pond that is always a chatter of ducks, geese, and other water creatures. Whenever I have gone out there in the morning there has been a consistent fog on the trail and this day is no different. As usual, my mind starts imagining images and today’s creepy thoughts give their thanks to the latest true crime podcast– never something I’d like to think about while alone, in the dark, in the woods… and so I start humming a tune to keep my mind off any other creepy thoughts until I pass through that area. I make my way over some rolling hills and then through a tall grass field to get to the edge of the woods that is near a river, my coveted spot.
There are two small clearings I jump between and I picked out the closer one and set up my blind. Then I step out the distance for my decoys and a couple of visual landmarks so I can judge distances for my bow. As I’m doing so, I see a pair eye staring at me as they move from one wooded area to the next, from the silhouette it’s either a coyote or a fox. I guess I’m not the only one up this early trying to catch a meal. I settle into my blind feeling a little safer and ready for the woods to awaken, along with my turkey courting to begin.
The sun has risen and it’s about 7:30am I’ve been calling on and off listening to the gobbles from a few far-off toms wondering if any will stop by my clearing. What catches my attention is a deer lazily walking up from the river slope into my clearing. It’s a doe and she’s curious to all the noise that has been coming from this area. She stops, listens, and stares but decides I’m not a threat or interesting and moves on. I begin to scratch my slate call again; soon enough the doe returns to the field looking for the source of the noise. Again, she decides to move on and take no interest. I start scratching some yelps on the slate and I couldn’t believe it, but the doe came back again! This time I scratched some clucks while she was in the field, her response was to give a couple of stomps. After our little convo she left without returning. I am delighted by this funny encounter and wonder if any other critters will stop by today.
At some point I had to take a pee break and sneaked out of my blind to a wooded spot. On my way back I find a lonely morel mushroom. The first I’ve ever found; I’m elated thinking I’ve hit the jackpot of a day in the woods. I remind myself to come back again to search for some more morels. There was no turkey that day but, any day in the woods can be quite entertaining.