a Baby Inbound, Nation Under Quarantine – We’re going Turkey Hunting.
The tides have turned in western Illinois.
After a difficult and unfruitful 2019 turkey and deer season, I was able to find some success on my first turkey hunt of the year. With my cell phone glued to my side in case my wife went into labor, I was able to break away and head west to hunt with one of my best friends, and world-renowned turkey caller, Doug Benefield. We braved the snow and freezing temperatures and dove deep into one of our favorite Brown County farms.
Although conditions were more like a January late season whitetail hunt, the turkeys were not deterred. Turkey hunting with Doug is a unique pursuit. There are no shortcuts and the method simple – cover as much ground as possible.
One thing I love about this part of the country is the beautiful ridges and creeks that create fingers throughout the crop fields. This time of year, with the fields unplanted, and the vegetation not fully mature, it can be difficult to go undetected as you move through a piece of property. Dealing with a light blanket of snow only created a more difficult backdrop to work with. Fortunately, Doug was able to locate a mature bird while it was still roosted. The eastern couldn’t resist the hoot owl Doug released, and the bird gobbled all the way down Mckee Creek. With only a short distance to cover before the bird was in range, we waited for him to pitch out of the white oak. Two things in the outdoor world get my heart racing; a giant whitetail deer in bow range and silence of a spring morning that is broken by the drum of an unsuspecting red head. This was the latter. And to hear Doug pull the bird the final 15 yards was an art you have to witness to understand.
Friendship, hunting, and the great outdoors is something I cherish, and can’t wait to pass on as my family continues to grow.