Entering into the third week of the season is when turkey hunting can become tricky and I'm not even talking about the game bird.
To make it until the last day of the season takes some strategy. You have to mentally prepare yourself for the grind. As much as you plan at work, at home, with your spouse, your kids, the yard work, the bills and everything else that is necessary in your day-today life, something always happens.
And it seems that no other time during the year, when you are shaking hands with time and truth be told you have plenty of time on your hands, things come to a screeching halt and have to be addressed right now. In short, if a pipe is going to burst and fill your living room full of water, it will happen during turkey season. It simply is part of being a turkey hunter.
By now, most turkey hunters have either tagged out or given up on the daily grind of turkey hunting. Oh, but not me. I am not that smart. I'm still awaking in the middle of the night, dressing in the dark and stumbling to the truck in hopes that a turkey will gobble at my hunting grounds.
I have heard of several people being successful and even some calling them off the roost right to their gun barrel. In fact, people who barely even talk to me throughout the year in a small town where everyone knows everyone feel compelled to tell me that Little Johnny, his first-time turkey hunting, called in a turkey the other morning with a tube call he found in a ditch alongside the interstate.
My afternoon and evenings are spent on the cell phone listening to tales of grandeur and disappointment from my circle of friends who pursue the game bird with reports of gobbling activity, sightings of turkeys strutting in fields, plenty of missed opportunities and tales of woe.
So, for the last few weeks, my turkey hunting routine has been the same. Get up at four, check my weather radar app to see not if, but when it will rain, scramble out the door hoping I'm not late, drive to my hunting grounds, quickly walk to my listening spot, watch the sun's rays illuminate the woods and hope that he will gobble soon.
Although I am tired and my lawn needs the first cutting of hay taken off it, I do love the last two weeks of our gobbler season. In fact, some of the most memorable hunts in West Virginia for me have taken place during the last two weeks of the season. Hunting during that time frame feels like a bonus or a special day in our blooming and sprouting spring hardwoods.
Trust me, I understand that the world can't stop for a month of turkey season. They are some necessary things that require our attention. Having said that, when he gobbles at you when you're standing deep in the hardwoods with the warmth of spring felt on your face, time does slow down just for a minute or two and all is well.
So, don't give up fellow turkey hunters and hang tough for a few more days of hunting. The bell will soon ring ending the season and when it is over, it's over. You can sleep in then.
Chris Ellis of Fayetteville, W.Va., an outdoorsman and Marshall University graduate, is owner of Ellis Communications, a public relations agency serving the outdoor industry. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.