Saturday morning was nearly blue pure perfect for opening day of turkey season in Louisiana. Clear skies and a chill in the air greeted me as I parked my truck, gathered my gear and began making my way to the spot I had already picked out.
It wasn’t where I really wanted to go but I was hopeful I could walk the 200 or so yards to the backside of a well site to set up. By the time I got to my spot, the searing pain in my right hip and leg let me know I didn’t need to go further. Sciatica, that aggravating pain that descended from the pinched nerve in my hip, had me in its grip.
Once I sat down, the pain subsided and I was fine for the next couple of hours. The only problem is that I neither heard nor saw anything resembling a turkey. Gathering my gear, I decided to walk down a pipeline next to the well site and when the pain got too bad, I’d flop down right there.
Managing to make it to the first little hill on the pipeline before the pain kicked in, I stuck my decoy out on the hilltop, backed up and sat against a big pine 25 yards away.
For the first hour, I sat and enjoyed the awakening of spring on the hill where I sat; blackberries blooming, birds singing, greenery everywhere, when a hen turkey stepping out of the woods.
A hen? I was actually going to get to see a turkey on this day when the pain prevented me from walking more than 200 yards from my truck. After an hour, I was about to get ready to leave and was on the phone with my friend and fellow camp owner, George Seacrist, asking if water had been turned on at the camp when I abruptly whispered to George I’d have to call him back; I was looking at a turkey.
This little hen provided 15 minutes of pure turkey hunting excitement. I started calling softly with my Legends of the Outdoors box call my friend Jerry Antley had given me and after a five minute stand-off, the little hen finally started toward the decoy to check out the competition.
I was able to sneak in a few snapshots of the hen as she approached to within ten steps of me. She eventually walked off down the hill and was joined by another hen.
Half an hour passed and with no further response to my calling, I decided to call it a day. At least I’d seen and photographed a turkey so the day was not a total bust.
Then I heard a gobble. I had already removed my face mask and was gathering my gear when a turkey gobbled and it sounded close by. Quickly getting the mask back on and reassembling my gear, I stroked the call and got an immediate answer.
I couldn’t believe my good luck. I felt confident I was just about to actually get a look at a gobbler.
Ten minutes later, I saw movement down the pipeline. It was the little hen and she was followed by the second hen. Bringing up the rear was a sight turkey hunters usually only dream of. In full strut, here came a gobbler…and a second gobbler…and a third gobbler. The trio was putting on quite a display for the two hens they were trying to impress.
Then the hens stopped at 60 yards and seemed to be moving away as is often the case when an intruder, even if it’s a decoy, threatens to steal their fellow away. I silently reached for my camera hoping to at least get a photo before the hens led the gobblers away. When I looked back up, the hens had changed their minds and were again bringing the boys my way.
At 45 yards, one of the gobblers broke strut and extended his neck like he knew something was amiss. Close enough. I touched the trigger and down he went.
Had my sore leg not limited the distance I could travel, I’d have continued on down the pipeline before setting up, likely spooking the flock. As I limped over to claim my prize, I couldn’t help but think about the slogan …….no pain; no gain.
Glynn Harris Outdoor column is sponsored by D.C. Pawn in Minden