Sharing the Love for the Woods

Monday morning kicked off the 2021 turkey season, my personal favorite. My dad and I snuck into the woods at about 4:30 and made our way across the field. We got our decoys set up, and I found a spot to sit. Usually I try to locate the bird in the roost, but the wind was so bad on Monday that we took a more “divide and conquer” approach, sitting in opposite directions so that if a bird came into view one of us might have a shot. 45 minutes later, a truck drove down the road along the side of the field. I thought maybe they had come from the other side, saw our truck, and they were going to look for something else. Next thing I knew this truck is driving into the field, with their high beams on. They drove in, one hunter got out of the truck, and the truck backed up and disappeared. I was extremely pissed, but I can’t say I was surprised. This wasn’t the first time that other hunters had wandered into the spot that I was hunting, and it wouldn’t be the last.

We decided to stick it out, and stay put. My dad called on a box call a few times, but we never got a response. To my right I could hear that one of the other hunters was also calling. A hen appeared on the other side of the field, but after a half hour or so she disappeared across the street. We packed up and headed to another spot. Fast forward maybe 3 hours later, after no luck at spot number two, we took a drive around as we decided what to do next. As we drove up the road, past the first spot we had tried that morning, a truck came down the hill going the other way. He rolled down the window, and flagged us down. “Did we mess you guys up this morning? I’m sorry, we didn’t realize you were there until we had already got in there. My buddy is 80 and can’t walk that far.” 

All the unpleasant feelings (putting it nicely) I had in regards to them coming out into the field with the truck instantly melted away. All I could think was this is awesome! His friend is older, still wants to hunt, and this guy is helping him get out in the woods! We told him not a problem and when he asked if we planned to hunt there on Tuesday we told him to go for it. There are plenty of spots to hunt, after all.

This put something into perspective for me that hadn’t really ever crossed my mind. I have always been fairly focused on new hunter education and getting kids in the woods, but what about helping out the people that have been hunting since before I was born? This community was built on the backs of hunters who may not be able to get into the woods the way they want anymore because of their age, and the thought of that just makes my heart ache. What’s going to happen to me in 50 years if I can’t walk into the woods? I commend this guy for helping his friend get out in the woods. I hope to do the same in the future. Not only would I be honored to learn from another hunter with experience beyond my time, I would love to help someone continue to feed their soul with the passion that we share for the sport. Let’s face it, that’s better than any turkey. 

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