Tod's Blog

Adventures with family & friends and other things I'm passionate about…

Archive for May, 2009

Pretty In Pink, Cuter in Camo

Posted by todblog on May 4, 2009

May 3, 2009

Today was a special day for me. If my dad were alive, he’d be 83 years old and I’m sure we’d be doing something for his birthday. That usually meant eating some great food. To mark his birthday, our family usually goes to a Chinese restaurant (as good as you can find in Roseburg, OR) order several dishes and immediately apologize to dad as I’m sure he wouldn’t approve. However, today was special for a different reason. I had a date with my daughter in the turkey woods.

I remember taking Jacob turkey hunting with me on top of Mauna Kea when he was eight years old. Waking up at 4am and heading up the mountain to get into position before sunrise. He was a real trooper and excited to be tagging along with me. Now, at eight years of age, it was Jessica’s turn to go with me. However, I wondered how difficult it might be to get her to put on camouflage clothes, sit still, not sing or hum, and be patient. Her room is filled with stuffed animals, princess stuff, and lots of pink girly stuff. Again, I wondered…

We saved Jacob’s old camouflage clothes and it fit her fine. Jessica appeared to be having fun trying things on and looking in the mirror to see how she looked. Apparently, she approved and the camo stayed on.

Dad checking to see how well Jessica is hidden

Dad checking to see how well Jessica is hidden

It was 2:30pm and we had a short 10 minute drive to a nearby Roseburg ranch. There was no early morning crack-of-dawn hunting here. This was pretty leisurely hunting. We met the landowner and he was impressed with Jessica’s attire and willingness to go turkey hunting with her dad. The landowner gave us a hot tip on some turkeys working the area and we quickly made a plan and he sent us off.

I went over some last minute reminders with Jessica and she remembered our little briefing at home on the living room floor. It was about how to sit, when to move, how to communicate, what to expect, etc. We slipped into a thin Douglas fir stand on the edge of a grassy meadow where a tom and hen were seen nearby. The hen was out feeding in the meadow while the tom was in tow following her around begging for her affections. It would be tough to call him away from the real deal and come after an unknown girlfriend in the brush. But, that’s turkey hunting.

We picked out a tree about 30 yards from the edge of the meadow and got set up. Nice soft cushions to sit on, a big tree to lean our backs against, fully camouflaged from head to toe, my trusty 12 gauge shotgun propped up on my knees, and we were ready to announce our presence. Jessica got out a little push button box call that was used by Jacob over many years. As it has many times before, it let out soft clucks and purrs with a gentle push of her finger tip against a spring-loaded wooden dowel. I whispered for her to stop. “Let’s give him a little silence…”

After a whole 30 seconds went by Jessica asked me if she could call again. I told her to wait a little bit longer. Another 15 seconds went by and she asked again. I told her to give a short series of purrs. “Okay, let’s give him more silence”. Imagine that, at eight years of age Jessica was learning from her dad, how to give boys the silent treatment. It must have worked because seconds later a bright red head appeared from behind a small cedar sapling. It was Mr. Tom looking for the mysterious purring hen. I told Jessica this was it- get ready. Mr. Tom wasn’t sure what to think when I brought the 12 gauge to my shoulder, he did an about face but, it was too late. At 27 yards, the 12 gauge pump did its job once more and other turkeys we hadn’t seen were scattering everywhere. It was 3:40pm and our hunt was over.

I put the shotgun down and reached out my hand to Jessica for a high five. I grabbed her camouflaged head with my two hands and looked her straight in the eyes and said, “You just called-in a turkey for your daddy, that was an awesome job!” I’m sure under that camouflage mask there was a big grin, because I surely saw one in her eyes.

Jessica learned how to validate a turkey tag and attach it to the bird, how to age a bird by looking at its beard and spurs but, what I fear most is that she learned how deadly the silent treatment can be on boys when applied properly. She also learned that hunting with dad can be fun and that she wanted to do it again.

Our short ride home meant there would still be lots of time to do little girl things once we returned home. As for me, I would be preparing the turkey for one of our favorite dishes- Turkey Fajitas and sharing it with my newest hunting partner.

Jessica with Mr. Tom she called-in for her dad

Jessica with Mr. Tom that she called-in for her dad

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Posted in 2009, Hunting, Stories | Tagged: , , , | 22 Comments »