Pennsylvania Game News - April 2009 - 25

Dickens. “They’re going to come through there, so get ready.” I got into position as Dickens continued to call — sparingly. There were four jakes in the group, their heads all glowing a bright, blood red. Each time they changed course, I adjusted my position accordingly. Dickens was at my ear coaching me every step of the way. “Okay, quietly slip off your safety,” he whispered, “and when they step out into that opening, take the shot. They’re all legal gobblers.” When the turkeys crossed in front of us at 35 yards, Dickens advised me to shoot. Unfortunately, from where I sat, the shooting lane was obscured with low hanging hemlock branches, so I held off. But as the jakes approached the decoys, the lead bird finally stepped into a clear lane and, for the first time in my turkeyless life, I actually had a legal gobbler in my sights. The bird collapsed immediately, going down like the proverbial ton of bricks. Remarkably, the other three jakes didn’t flee the scene but, instead, began fidgeting nervously toward us, disoriented and putting in alarm. Then, when we moved to retrieve their downed brethren, they took off like roadrunners. Incredibly, I had tagged my first turkey at last — a 12-pound jake with a 3-inch beard. Dickens’ calling magic coupled with six sun-drenched hours of patience had conspired to trump the jinx. But Dickens, under pressure to prevail where so many others had failed on my behalf, may have been more relieved than I was. Like Carl Dickens’ first ever turkey, I had bagged my gobbler on his May 3rd birthday, and like Ron Dickens’ first ever turkey, I had taken mine in the waning minutes of legal hunting hours — shortly after 11:30. “Most guys would have given up hours ago,” said Dickens, “but we stuck it out and it paid off.” But, as Dickens also noted, ours had not been a classic hunt. “It would have been more exciting if the birds had been gobbling and strutting,” he admitted. “And, of course, a mature APRIL 2009 A DECADES-LONG jinx was finally broken with the author’s first gobbler. longbeard would have been nice, too.” Dickens was right — after the 20year turkey drought I had endured, this measure of success on a clueless jake stumbling across our path fell far short of total gobbler hunting satisfaction. The jinx had been cracked, it was true, but the following year I was determined to put “a stake through its still beating heart.” And so it was that next season I was reminded that mature tom turkeys don’t always gobble. As often as not they’ll sneak up on you in stealthy silence, catch you totally unawares, and leave you with nothing more than a big glob of egg on your face. Such was my fate that first Thursday morning in 2008 while hunting spring gobblers on Tussey Mountain back in Bedford County. The sound of a turkey gobbling just after daybreak compelled us to set up our decoys on an old logging road. We then took cover and waited for the old boy to show himself. Our calling efforts were answered by a chorus of hen vocals just below us, but 25

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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