By Kendel Wynne


I never knew what all the fuss was about when it came to turkey hunting. I was blessed to accompany an older friend early in the season who does not miss a single morning chasin birds. Up until this particular mornin I had never heard a gobble close enough to get my heart pounding or even seen one blow up and strut. I knew they were elusive and not to get my hopes up.  I was content to just be in the spring woods with my buddy. I would be happy to hear one and pleasantly surprised if we layed eyes on a Tom.  The rookie move of slamming my truck door did the trick. Low and behold not 200 yards from us a thundering gobble across a nearby pond. He was henned up but would answer my buddy’s call so we snuck along a fenceline and got as close as we could and watched him strut and carry on for the rest of the morning. What a beautiful bird! We named this ol bird Earl and continued to pursue him morning after morning. 

We chased other birds throughout the season and I was lucky enough to fill two tags, giving me a good dose of the turkey fever.  Earl continued to elude us. After a few hunts we figured this bird was never going to cross the dam so we set up on the other side only for him to do you-know-what…pitch down and immediately cross the dam! If we got there an hour before daylight and set up perfect he would be a no-show.  Something changed in me changed over the course of these weeks, I don’t know if it was a form of growth or grounding in myself but as each day passed I felt more wisened, humbled, and eat up with a respect for these birds. On the last morning we could hunt together, my buddy and I set up extra early in Earl’s territory. We hoped at the very least he would grace us with his presence. At first light he gobbled full throttle. I grinned from ear to ear at my buddy. He then proceeded to serenade us from the roost for two hours, rapid fire gobbling(!), until he pitched down and expectedly went the other direction. I was over the moon to hear him one last time.  Until next year Earl…