The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Outdoors

April 26, 2014

Standoff with a gobbler

— I have no way of telling for sure, but I am certain the turkey was gobbling when the plane I was on landed. A good friend of mine invited me to turkey hunt with him in Texas, and I graciously accepted his offer and left my mountain home for a few days.

When we arrived at the hunting grounds, we immediately traded our traveling clothes for camouflage and headed directly to the gate leading into the ranch. The ranch was huge in size, by my standards anyhow, and I was excited to have so much land in front of me to explore and hunt. With less than a half mile of gravel crunched under my boots, on the first sandy road I walked down, I saw him. In a slight bend of the road, I raised my binoculars and determined the turkey ahead of me was indeed a gobbler. He walked off into the scrub brush spotted with various types of cactus plants. I scurried to a mesquite tree grove and pulled up my facemask and steadied my hands enough to hold the pot call firmly. With the drag of a wooden striker across the slate surface of the call, he gobbled. Then he gobbled without me making a sound.

“Could this be this easy,” I thought.

“Gobble,” he answered.

For the next four hours, I called and he answered. He would walk off and I would call him back. I would get frustrated and backtrack towards the truck and he would gobble and sound a little closer and draw me back into the game. I saw him several times through the brush but never close enough to draw a fine bead on him. I eventually walked back to the truck with my tail tucked and decided to leave him until the following morning in hopes I could trick him into range at first light.

I slipped in on him at dark the next morning. As the sun’s rays were just starting to throw light on the new day, he gobbled from his roost. I yelped softly back at him and he again gobbled. I heard him fly down from the tree and as soon as his feet hit the ground, he gobbled three times in a row. I again softly made a hen’s yelp on my call to which he answered vibrantly. With the sun fully risen, the game we were playing resembled the exact experience from the evening before.  He answered nearly all of my calls and was in shotgun range multiple times but never in an open spot for me make the shot.  This Rio Grande turkey was simply in a league of his own and I gladly handed off to the local outfitter his exact location and what calls the turkey seemed to thoroughly enjoy.

Again, I have no way of knowing for certain but I am confident that the old bird was still gobbling when they closed the airplane door and asked us to turn off all electronic devices in preparation for takeoff. This week, the spring gobbler season is open in West Virginia. Although I appreciated my friend’s offer to hunt in Texas and had a great time, I am sure I can find a male turkey right here at home who is willing to totally humiliate me in front of my peers. Besides, the airline’s complimentary peanuts were not as good as I remembered. 

1
Text Only
Outdoors
  • Some books for the rest of summer

    Stretching out in a hammock with a good book is a great way to relax on a warm summer afternoon. Here are a few titles that have recently caught my eye.

    July 27, 2014

  • Creating a week to remember

    After my traveling shoes were placed neatly beside the door, it was time to spend some much needed time around home.

    July 27, 2014

  • There are some changes on the way

    Hunters who have found themselves driving out of their way to check in a deer, turkey, or bear will no longer have to waste the time or gas starting in 2015. 

    July 27, 2014

  • The cure for the summertime blues: Go camping

    In case you haven’t noticed we are looking right down the gun barrel at winding down on another summer.

    July 26, 2014

  • 071714 Coda and Callie.jpg Coda and Callie’s excellent adventure

    How is it something that you profess to love so much can cause you so much anxiety and grief? No, I’m not talking about dealing with your children (or your spouse). This is worse. This is about dogs. More specifically, hunting dogs. 

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 071314 Chris Ellis.jpg DNR’s ‘outdoor summer school’

    Attention all West Virginia hunters and trappers. It is once again time for outdoor summer school and the course materials are hot off the presses.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Meet the Eurasian collared-dove

    Back in 1974 a local pigeon fancier imported a flock of about 50 Eurasian collared-doves to the Bahamas. Ultimately he released the birds, and they took to living in the West Indies. By the late 1970s some had reached south Florida, and by the late 1980s, some had been seen in Georgia and Arkansas.

    July 13, 2014

  • July in W.Va.: Recreational opportunities abound

    It’s July in the West Virginia mountains, which brings vibrant orange tiger lilies, blooming rhododendron, and of course fireworks. Usually the heat and humidity is in full force, but so far the weather has been nice.

    July 13, 2014

  • Shotgun 101: Shoot more and live better

    “God is not on the side of big battalions, but on the side of those who shoot best.”
    — Voltaire

    July 9, 2014

  • Fireflies are living lights

    At recent Fourth of July fireworks displays, spectators squealed with delight at the annual spectacle that illuminated the night sky. And I’m sure more than a few compared the spectacular pyrotechnics to the subtler displays of fireflies that punctuate backyards, parks, and campgrounds all summer long. We call these displays “nature’s fireworks.”

    July 5, 2014

Web Special Sections
  • Special Web Sections

    Click HERE for stories about natural gas and Marcellus shale gas extraction.

    Click HERE for stories about the Upper Big Branch mine disaster.

    Click HERE for stories about the passing of U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd.

    Click HERE for stories from The Greenbrier Classic PGA TOUR event.

    August 6, 2010

Helium debate
Helium
AP Video
Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US