Here for the Gobble

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Published on: Feb. 2, 2008

Last revision: Dec. 7, 2010

I was just a little late. There was some trouble with the coffee pot and then the gate...

I got raised eyebrows over this, but not much else. Eddie did make me do double time to catch up, however. He was going to make my hunt as easy as possible, but he certainly wasn’t going to let me sabotage my chances.

I’d learned a lot about Eddie Hovis, my clinic-appointed guide, in the past 24 hours. Foremost was that he was an exceedingly proud grandparent. Second was that I could trust him to steer me kindly, if not subtly, through this adventure.

There was a hint of pink on the horizon as we pulled up to the property we would be hunting. This was a terrific spot, Eddie assured me, and it was a particular treat to be given permission to hunt here. The property owner, who normally did not allow hunting on her property, made exceptions only for participants in the women’s turkey clinics.

I knew we would have a bit of a walk. All of the clinic’s participants are asked about preferences and physical abilities before they are assigned to a guide and location. I had told them I’d go whenever, wherever and with whomever they assigned me. I fell in behind Eddie and started crunching through the frozen grass.

I stopped when Eddie’s silhouette stopped, and walked when it did. He gave a few calls on the way to the spot he had chosen, but we didn’t hear a sound but our footsteps and breathing until we were about halfway there. When the gobble finally came, it was just light enough to see the satisfied smile on Eddie’s face.

The woods were waking up, and unseen birds chirped and creatures scampered as we made our way through a grove of pine trees. We stopped and cleared a spot at the base of an oak near a break in the trees. I waited while Eddie set out his decoy.

The air was cool, but I wasn’t cold after our brisk walk. Everything sparkled as the sun rose on the frost, and I tried to justify my racing heart with the calm setting. We sat quietly for about 20 minutes, and then Eddie made a few calls.

No answer.

We moved a little further into the woods and toward a small ridge. As we walked, Eddie called some more.

Another gobble wafted from the distance. My heart skipped. Then we

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