Some people wait for the perfect day to go hunting and fishing…and then don’t get to go very often. When I get a chance, I usually go.
Hunting and fishing in Kansas means hunting and fishing in the wind. Hey, our state was named after a tribe that named themselves after the often-present south wind.
And there certainly was plenty of that when I took off most of a day hoping to fill my last turkey tag last week. In the morning I had a jake and tom skirt my set-up,…possibly my hen decoy blowing over and sliding across the field contributed to their shyness.
After lunch the plan was to make the best of a very gusty situation.
The radio said the gusts were going to 40 mph and the dancing tops of mature cottonwoods seemed to agree.
New to the property, I headed into the mix of big cottonwoods, food plots and pastures with the wind at my back. I hadn’t gone a slow 150 yards, walking and calling from time to time, when I heard a noise over the wind.
A gobble? An oil well back-firing? A woodpecker on a hollow trunk? I couldn’t tell so I took a seat in the shade of a nice tree, wiggled my tush into a comfortable place in the sandy soil and waited.
Every five minutes or so I reached for a favored Lohman box call, a wooden, high-pitched call some think sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard. Through the years, several dozen gobblers have though enough of it to become their Siren’s song.
I was about 20 minutes into a self-imposed 30 minute set-up when I remembered a text I hadn’t returned from days before. Keeping my phone low, I was typing in a reply when a loud gobble came from my left.
Now, that bird may have gobbled at all of my previous calls but my poor hearing, and heavy winds, made it all a mystery to me. I did know, though, that the gobble I heard was well within 40 yards.
I dropped the mid-sentence phone into the sand, shouldered my shotgun and made a few yelps with a mouth call.
Within a minute I saw the top of a fanned tail coming through the cedars. I got a full look at the longbeard when it stepped from behind a cedar tree 12 yards away. As usual with turkey hunts, the shot was anti-climatic.
I finished the text, with news of the downed bird, before heading to and tagging the tom.
Tiny particles of sand were in the fast air as I toted the load of equipment and the bird to my car.
We have two choices in Kansas.
One is to let the wind dictate if we head afield.
The other is to consider it just another challenge that makes our successes just that much sweeter.
I’ll take the latter.