Early Birthday Present

2014 Daniel's VA Bird

This story, like so many of mine, begins with my father.  His love of the outdoors and the great sport of hunting was shared with me at an early age. Lessons learned from him apply to more than just the outdoors.  They were also life lessons. Now fast forward to the early morning of April 21 2014, as I pulled the trigger on a beautiful three-year old Virginia gobbler, I couldn’t help but smile and think of three of those important lessons; Preparedness, Patience and Persistence.

       Prior to the Virginia spring turkey opener, my scouting efforts relied heavily on a family friend who also hunts this same farm as well as the neighboring farmers. I had received solid reports of turkey’s being seen feeding and strutting in the lower fields, as well as lots of gobbling from higher up the mountain. Opening day came and went with lots of excitement as I helped guide Chris on his first turkey hunt.  Although we had a close call, no turkeys were taken. Then the farm became quiet.  Gobbling became non-existent, and hunting became tough.
       As my alarm sounded that Monday morning, I questioned whether the farm was worth hunting again or not. However, remembering that patience is the key to success, I drove out to the farm, opened the cattle gate, and headed up the mountain once more. There was a nice chill to the air that morning as I slowly made my way up the old farm road to the top of a ridge. Daniel bird 2I had an awesome vantage point from which to watch as the valley was slowly illuminated in the early dawn. The quiet morning was soon broken by a distant gobble from the neighboring property. Then another gobble and another one! They began to get louder and louder as closer gobblers joined in the wake up call. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I hadn’t heard a bird on this farm in almost a week and suddenly there were multiple turkeys gobbling all around me.  Quickly I made a decision to go after one bird high up on the mountain. I was able to climb to within 100 yards of him while he was still in the tree. It took just four yelps and had him come into range.  After the shot, I couldn’t believe how fast things change. I couldn’t help but smile and think of my dad. I used the lessons he taught me to harvest such a beautiful animal.
Thanks dad for the early birthday present.
– Daniel

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