Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Lucky Little Punk

Growing up, turkey hunting was something that we saw on TV but not something that we did or thought about. In fact, it wasn't even a hunting show that we'd watch unless there was nothing else on. Fast forward about twenty years and turkey hunting has become one of my favorite hunts and one that I love sharing with my boys.

This year the turkeys seemed to be a little more scarce than in years past, but then Caden and I went out to scout one evening and the birds were everywhere. We saw hens, jakes, and toms in spots that we could access. Our confidence was almost as high as our excitement and the youth opener couldn't arrive soon enough. 

I've been talking to the boys about turkey hunting all winter, including pop quizzes on where they should aim, how to identify jakes/toms, and all the little decisions they would have to make in the moment. Trying to get them as prepared as possible to be successful, ethical hunters is always my goal so we went out to practice shooting. Time with the guns helps young hunters gain confidence and stay safe (and it's fun to shoot!). 

Headed up the hill just a little later than we were hoping to get there, but made it to the spot, got the decoy out and just barely got set up before some turkeys appeared on the hill across from us. One hen spooked and flew so we knew we didn't have much time before the others followed suit. Atley had the best angle on them so I said if you can see the one with the blue head go ahead and shoot it. He checked for a beard (because that's what we had been talking about doing in preparation for the hunt. Training!) and made a great shot! 

After looking at his bird and taking some quick pictures, Caden and I moved in the direction that the birds ran and caught up to them. Caden could've gotten a shot at the other tom, but couldn't figure out which one that was before they all took off. With a lot of morning left, we decided to move in the direction of a bird that was gobbling and try for a double before heading home. Despite our efforts, the birds continued to move away from us so we headed home to take care of Atley's bird. 

Despite what you might've heard, turkeys are delicious. We breasted out the bird to make some amazing nuggets and saved the legs/thighs for another meal. I honestly think this is the reason that the boys like turkey hunting so much! I just wish they were bigger...

It always makes me happy when my boys take me outdoors! With lots of time left to hunt, we were confident that Caden and I would be filling our tags soon. 

Hope you're as lucky, 

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Jumping Off

With our schools here in Utah shut down, I had to start working from home and trying to teach music remotely. It sucks. I know that there are lots of people going through a lot worse, and my perspective is a privileged one, but it's hard not to focus on what you're going through personally. I'm trying to be productive, getting my steps in, doing pushups, and working on finishing a room downstairs that will be for all my hobbies. I can't wait to tie flies, build rods, practice saxophone, and store all my stuff in a dedicated space. 

I've also set up trail cameras in the back yard and we're all excited to have the deer and elk back! The turkeys are teasing me with only a couple of weeks on until the opener, but I know they'll disappear before the hunt starts. Hopefully, the skunk will make himself scarce too!

The weather is warming up nicely and Del was getting the itch to get outside and have some fun. She just turned in her final project for her Bachelors Degree (spoiler: She passed!!). So we rode the 4-wheeler up to a good jumping-off point and took a hike 'shed hunting'. Although, if we didn't see any sheds we wouldn't have been surprised or too worried about it. A hike like this is always a great way to get out and have some fun, finding something is just a bonus. With Summer fast approaching I'm hoping this is just the first of many. It will help get us in shape and keep me from going crazy. The scrub oak was super thick, but we found some really nice openings with tons of elk sign. It will be interesting to see if they stick around all Summer. Maybe I've been going up too high to chase elk and would have just as much luck sticking close to home? We'll see. 

As usual, Del found what we were looking for long before I did when she spotted a nice little three-point deadhead. This would've been a cool buck in another year or so, but even 'as is' there was some cool mass and it was a good find. 

It's funny how getting the first find out of the way makes you look harder and have more hope in your search. I definitely started looking harder hoping to find something! What I didn't see was the black clouds building across our valley and they were over us really quickly. We took shelter under a juniper tree, but it didn't help too much. The rain and wind were cold, but it stepped up a notch when the rain turned to hail. One poncho between the two of us kept us relatively dry, but it didn't quite cover everything!

After the storm the sun came back out and temperatures rose back up to comfortable. If you don't like the weather in Utah just wait ten minutes! The sun melted the marble-sized hail and made for some really muddy trails. Slipping and sliding along! We both ended up taking a fall and carrying a little extra weight in the form of mud, plastered to our backsides. I did make one find, a little two-point shed, before we called it a day and headed back to the wheeler. The short ride home had one little adventure in store for us as we slid off the road! It was tense for a minute, until Del got off and let me try and get through the rough spots. Never a dull moment! 

I'm sure this is just the first of many adventures that we'll have this Spring/Summer and I can't wait. 

Hope you're as lucky,