Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - 23

Death of the Turkey Jinx By Tom Tatum AWN BROKE COLD, damp, rainy and raw. Jim Hale stood stolidly on the porch of his Bedford County hunting cabin and assessed our chances. His lips pursed beneath the stubble of his graying beard. He shook his head. The weather was coyote ugly. “Not good,” he sighed. “I like to be able to hear the birds, but with all this rain, not good.” The Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association had charged Hale with the unenviable and daunting task of guiding me this day on my yearly ill-fated spring gobbler hunt. I’d never had a turkey in my shotgun sights, let alone ever bagged one, despite years upon years of trying while guided by noted experts such as Hale. Over the years, my consistently incredible bad luck with all things turkey hunting had crossed the line into the heady realm of a “jinx.” As a factor of my negative conditioning over two decades of trying, I grew to accept the fact that my odds of bagging a turkey, to coin the operative phrase, were slim to none. But with the morning’s miserable meteorological matrix (and despite Hale’s expertise) I suspected the “slim” part of the equation would not apply today. I suspected the jinx would again prevail. So we sipped coffee on the porch and watched the weather go from downpour to drenching to drizzle to damp and then all the way back again. It was almost seven — a late start for turkey hunting — when we finally agreed to brave the elements and give it a go. Hale’s cabin, Camp Coot Hill, is situated on the Coot Hill Mountain and backs up to SGL 73. With more than APRIL 2009 D 20,000 acres of prime deer and turkey habitat, it’s one of the largest and most productive game lands in the state. Hale and his hunting buddies built the camp themselves in 1999, and it boasts all the comforts of home. We left the shelter of the cabin porch and forged our way through the forest that graced the flank of Coot Hill, lush and green with spring. Hale led me along a muddy logging trail crisscrossed with raging torrents of rainwater runoff. A steady drumming sound of the stubborn rain surrounded us. A mist rose up from the saturated forest floor and shrouded much of the mountain. It was a drearily surrealistic morning in the woods. The gray hours ticked by while we traced a 4-mile loop along the eastern side of the mountain among the oak, poplar, striped maples and grapevines — all cover that appeals to the wild turkey. Just below were the farm fields where the gobblers often strutted. As we walked, Hale pointed out, with a certain degree of reverence, a history of the locations that marked the scenes of so many turkey hunting triumphs and defeats he and his camp mates had experienced over their lifetimes of hunting these lands. We paused to set up two different times, in two different locations, in our attempts to lure in a gobbler. Hale performed a medley of calls — cutting, purring, clucking and yelping — some made with his homemade scratch call, others with a variety of mouth calls, 23

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009

Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009
Life & Times of the Whitetail
Contents
A Novice, Yes, But That’s Okay
Forestry & Wildlife
Raccoon & Beaver Tales
Spring Gobbler Double Take
The Old Man, Torment to Serenity
The Bender Fields
Death of the Turkey Jinx
WLA is Solid Gold
Wetlands for Wildlife
Field Notes
Conservation News
Off the Wire
Another View
The Naturalist’s Eye
Fun Game
Straight from the Bowstring
Lock, Stock & Barrel
Crossings
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - Life & Times of the Whitetail
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - A Novice, Yes, But That’s Okay
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - 4
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - 5
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - 6
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - 7
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - Forestry & Wildlife
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - 9
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - Raccoon & Beaver Tales
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - 11
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - 12
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - Spring Gobbler Double Take
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - 14
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - 15
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - The Old Man, Torment to Serenity
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - 17
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - 18
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - 19
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - The Bender Fields
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - 21
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - 22
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - Death of the Turkey Jinx
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - 24
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - 25
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - 26
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - 27
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - 28
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - 29
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - 30
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - WLA is Solid Gold
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - 32
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - Wetlands for Wildlife
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - 34
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - 35
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - Field Notes
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - 37
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - 38
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - 39
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - 40
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - Conservation News
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - 42
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - 43
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - 44
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - 45
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - 46
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - 47
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - Off the Wire
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - Another View
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - 50
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - 51
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - The Naturalist’s Eye
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - 53
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - 54
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - Fun Game
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - Straight from the Bowstring
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - 57
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - 58
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - 59
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - 60
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - Lock, Stock & Barrel
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - 62
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - 63
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - Crossings
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - Cover4
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