Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Day 2 Looking For Tom

Having tossed and turned all night, I managed only a couple hours sleep when we awoke the camper armed with a shotgun across from us was making his way to the meadow we had scouted the night before.  With that plan canceled we regrouped and decided to see if there was a way above the ridge to the other side where we knew had a meadow interlaced with public and private land.
After several summit attempts we made it about three quarters of the way up before we were stopped in our tracks with an impenetrable wall of thickets.  We would try four or five different game trails only to be met by the same result.  Demoralized we stopped for breakfast and formulated our next plan.
Back when I backpacked more often I tried several freeze dried "backpacking" food and everyone tasted like ass.  I've been reluctant ever since to buy any and bring them with me.  Chul has always told me that Mountain House made the most edible and should stick with those.  I do trust Chul's palate but I was still skeptical.  Mountain House breakfast skillet was on the menu and I will have to say it was much better than I expected. 
We decided to forgo our attempt to summit and headed down back into the meadows.  There by the creek we began to see some sign including this not-too-old track of a big Tom. 
Despite being late in the morning we set up some decoys and hoped for the best.  We made our calls but to no avail.  I was hoping to see the real deal through my scope but I could only put my reticle on the foam version (of course I wouldn't be shooting a hen). 
By late morning it was time to head back to camp and take a siesta.  It was hot and we moved our sleeping pads under a tree for shade and a cat nap until we got hungry.
Laziness and hunger caused me to eat my SpaghettiOs-wannabe without heating it.  I really did not want to clean my cooking mug again.  It was actually quite good cold.  By this time the hunter who camped across from us was back and preparing to head home.  We chatted him up and he gave us the best lead of the trip.  He had not gone to the meadow we wanted to hunt but in another direction.  He was able hear a Tom gobble but not able to make him respond to his calls or  could get him to come in.
We followed his directions and headed to that area.  On the way we found more sign including new tracks and turkey scat from both hens and toms.  Chul gave a hen call and he heard the Tom respond with a gobble.  He set up where we were and Chul set up the decoys.  This ended up our fatal mistake.  Chul later believed he saw the turkey in between the brush while setting up the dekes, thus spooking it away.  At the time he didn't realize it. and we set up our ambush. Moments later Chul called again but it went silent.

We decide to leave this area and save it for the next morning leaving the dekes as they laid.  At this moment it dawned on Chul that he may had been seen by the gobbler.  Looking for other areas we headed toward the meadows we initially wanted to hunt in the morning.  We tried climbing over the hills but they were impenetrable fortresses.
Eventually we found some other meadows and found more evidence of Toms.  It looked like a smaller track than the one we found earlier but nonetheless a good sign.
Exhausted we headed back to camp to rest up for the next day in the hope to meet that Tom that teased both the shotgun hunter and ourselves.
Earlier in the trip I lost my boots as the soles fell apart, now it was Chul's turn to have his gear break.  His GSI spork broke leaving him with no eating utensil.  This piece of shit gear is the worst piece of gear I've ever seen.  I tried to booty fab it by melting it trying fuse it back together but the plastic was having none of that.
Trying to be the Last Boy Scout tried fabricating his own spoon.  One of Marines' mountain survival school tests is to make wooden spoon, I could say neither Chul nor I would have passed. 
For dinner I brought along Mountain House Pasta Primavera and Chul brought Beef Stroganoff.  Both were half way decent and pretty good for backpacking food.  One suggestion Chul gave me though was to not follow the manufacture's direction and add less water.  I loaded mine with one and three quarter cups of boiling water (directions say two cups) and it was still too runny.  Not long after our meal it was time for bed and I slept much better this night.


  1. Great series and pictures. Over a year ago, I stumbled upon your website after searching for the Zeiss 8x30 Safari. What field glasses did you take afield for the turkey hunt? Do your Zeiss Safaris see much action or are they relegated to home?

    1. Thanks for the kind words Nathan. For bird hunting I use my Minox BL. This may make sense only to me but I choose the optics for the game worthy of the binos. In other words I generally reserve the "premium" optics for more majestic game- deer, elk, wild boar etc. For waterfowl and turkey I generally have to bushwhack through some real nasty stuff so the optics can get abused somewhat.

  2. Such a good collection of hunting gear. If you are interested in hunting you can check out some of the best hunting gear over here.