Monday, April 27, 2009

4.25.09 Oxford Children's Home Fishing Tournament

If I had to choose between a beautiful sunrise and the smile on a child's face the decision would not come easily. On Saturday, at the 4th Annual Oxford Children Home Fishing Tournament, I experienced both and there are fewer things in this world that compare.
Mike and Paris Routh did another excellent job and had the most participants, largest number of volunteers and highest amount of donations thus far. Below are some pictures of the day. The 5th Annual Tournament is on slate for April of next year. To get involved sent me an email! You'll be blessed and that's a guarantee!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

4.08.09 Tennessee Turkey Trek III

He gobbled and Rusty and I looked at each other in disbelief. A big ole gobbler was strutting fifteen yards behind us and neither of us had any clue how he got there. "He's a big bird but make sure he has a nice beard!" Rusty hissed beneath his breath. The landowner had given instructions to only shoot mature birds. I could only make out the outline of the bird as he was obscured by several small trees. After another gobble he eased over to me and I was able to tell he was in fact "mature". I eased the barrel of my Super Nova out through one of the windows, lined up the red fiber optic site on the tom's head and squeezed the trigger. A tremendous BOOM echoed across the country side, shaking the blind. I blinked and strained my eyes hoping to see the turkey laying in the grass....
In the predawn darkness, all three of us had crammed into Rusty's Double Bull blind. It was cool, really cool for April, but I had layered Zane up and had already stoked his inner fired with a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit and some hot chocolate. I was hopeful he would make it through the morning without being too cold. Rusty had situated the blind in the heart of a funnel where two meadows, a couple strips of hardwoods and a small stream came to a point. If birds were moving through the area there was a great possibility that they would come right by us. The Double Bull comes equipped with windows that spans 360 degrees and we were going to need it. There was a possibility that turkeys could come from just about every direction.
We settled in to wait, keen vigilance versus intense exhaustion. After thirty minutes a lone bird crossed the field directly in front of us, 150 yards away. It was a huge tom but our calls did nothing to pursuade him to come our way, he had other places to be. Ten minutes later two more turkeys, which looked to be hens, followed an identical path. We waited and although he got a little bit restless, Zane was very patient. Around 8 o'clock we heard a gobble and then another coming from the woods, about a hundred or so yards off. Rusty and I both yelped a little and then put away our calls. All six eyes were peering in the direction of the gobble, hoping to catch a glimpse of the tom it had come from. I guess we were so intent on seeing him that we never saw another bird come up behind us. His gobble shocked the occupants of our blind.
I couldn't believe it. He was still standing there, looking around, trying to figure out where that loud noise came from and it appeared that he was about to bolt. At that very moment, a car drove by on a nearby road. This captured tom's attention and apparently convinced him to stay. Then he gobbled again and went into a half strut. I quickly covered his head with the Nova's front bead and squeezed the trigger. This time he turned a cartwheel and began flapping on the ground. The blind erupting into huge grins, cheering and high fives. Zane and I ran over to retrieve our prize. I will never forget the huge smile on his face and the strength of his hug as we congratulated one another.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

4.07.09 Tennessee Turkey Trek IIb

Had a long day today. Saw some turkeys but didn't put one on the group. Zane's highlight was shooting a bb gun for the first time. His mama may skin me but if the truth be told it was all Mr. Rusty's fault!
Gonna go chase 'em again in the morning.

4.07.09 Tennessee Turkey Trek II

My body says its 4am but my mind is arguing that it’s definitely time to get up and go, go, go. The bedside clock agrees with my body in bright red digits. Zane is in deep REM, breathing like Darth Vader . A couple hours ago he rolled over, grabbed one of my shoulders, mumbled something I believe was “please” and drifted back to sleepyland. I’m not sure if he was begging for another popsicle like the one he talked me into before bedtime or for the Star Wars plush toy he was lusting over at the Books a Million last night. It’s quite possible he was pleading not to climb any more East Tennessee hills, like the ones we traversed yesterday in pursuit of Tom turkey. My legs, the ones that know its four am right now, agree with him. Note to self: You should’ve taken some ibuprofen last night.
When we stepped out of Rusty’s yesterday morning it was spitting snow and sprinkling rain with a ten to twenty mph wind doing it’s best to penetrate my fleece pullover. Not exactly the conditions I envisioned when daydreaming of Spring turkey hunting back in the doldrums of winter. Zane was bouncing around the truck with the limitless energy God gives six-year-old boys. I was a little worried about the conditions but felt with the proper layers we could give it a shot. Not sure it we would be out for fifteen minutes or a couple hours but I didn’t want the elements to ruin his highly anticipated first turkey hunt.
We hunted a couple hours, trudging up and down some steep hills, exploring the nooks and crannies of some very beautiful real estate. Rusty and I called occasionally and hoped a tom would gobble. They never answered and we didn’t see a feather the entire hunt. Apparently the turkeys weren’t real thrilled with the dramatic change in weather conditions.
It rained sporadically, luckily nothing more than a light misting. Zane found some great sticks, a couple deer bones, a rock which was of great importance to him (I couldn’t tell the difference between it and the millions of others we passed by) and many other wonderful things. He never complained.
As we climbed back into the truck and Zane burrowed into his little spot in the back of Mr. Rusty’s truck he was smiling and chattering about all the things we’d seen in the woods that morning. I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself and praise God for the opportunity to see the world around us through the eyes of my son. Hopefully tomorrow he will get to see a turkey.

Monday, April 6, 2009

4.06.09 Tennessee Turkey Trek I

It’s around midnight and Zane is finally asleep next to me. As I listen to his heavy breathing I wonder what he’s dreaming about. Just before he dosed off he informed me that he couldn’t sleep because he had, “too many things to think about.”
“Will we get a turkey?”
“I think we’re going to get a couple.”
The weather forecast is calling for a thirty degree drop in temperature and possible snow showers. We may not even see a bird but I’m content nonetheless. Can a man ever feel too grateful?