Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Fish Kill on the Shenandoah River

I was just taking a break from writing a research paper and happened to stop by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website. I noticed a news release from yesterday that discussed the fish kills that have plagued the river for the past few years. I live about 5 minutes from the river and have fished it my whole life, so this article was of particular interest to me.
The Shenandoah is a beautiful and fast flowing river with a rocky bottom that makes it ideal for Smallmouth bass fishing. My Dad and I used to be able to wade out in the river and catch upwards of 50 bass in half a days time, and often some of these fish would be in the two to three pound range. After the first fish kill in the Spring of 2004, I remember not being able to catch more than a handful of Smallmouth, and most of them were less than ten inches long. We also began noticing that almost all of the Smallies and Sunfish we caught had lesions on them. Oftentimes we would see dead fish covered in lesions floating dead past us in the river.
There were still fish in the river, but the numbers and size of fish that we caught had significantly dropped off. Last year was really the first year that I started catching more fish, with a few of them being in the two to three pound range. One of my good friends caught an 18 inch Smallie out of a deep pool early this Fall.
The news brief states that many studies have been done, and some possible causes have been found, but they still don't know exactly what is causing the fish kills.
Unfortunately, despite its beauty, the Shenandoah is a very polluted river. There are industrial wastes and heavy metals that have contaminated the water so that you are cautioned to not eat the fish, and if you do, only in small amounts. There are also numerous agricultural contaminants that runoff into the river and cause a horrific algae bloom in the summer when the water is low. The Shenandoah is part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, and undoubtedly the pollution and fish kills in the Shenandoah are poisoning the Bay.
Hopefully there isn't a horrible fish kill this year and hopefully the VDGIF and scientists will eventually find out what is killing the fish. Unfortunately, the river is so polluted and there are so many possible causes that I doubt they'll have a definitive answer to the problem any time soon.
Here is a map of the Shenandoah River Basin that I found on the NOAA website...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Just An Update

I am going to be pretty busy this week as my college career begins to wind down. In 19 days I will be a college graduate! I am working on the last research papers I will ever have to write. One is for a geography class and is about public space and the other is on important people in modern Middle Eastern history. This papers are both due this week so I doubt I will get a chance to get outdoors, but I may get the chance to do some hunting or fishing this weekend. I know I said I was done with turkeys for the year but since I am going home, I may try and sneak in a hunt Saturday morning.
I am going home because I applied to be a Corrections Officer with one of the local sheriff's offices, and they advanced me in the application process. The next step is apparently the polygraph exam, so I need to get home to fill out the questionnaire that they use for that test. It needs to be returned within twenty days, so hopefully filling out the paperwork and returning it by early next week will give me a chance to take the polygraph test and have an in depth interview shortly following my graduation on May 16th.
I have often thought about a career in law enforcement, but over the past year or two I had ruled out those types of jobs as a career option. Unfortunately I will have a history degree, and there aren't many history specific positions open in today's economy. What is attractive about the job I applied for is that it is within a half an hour of my home town, you only work 14 days a month, the pay is pretty good (40k+), and the benefits are great. Hopefully I can keep advancing through the application process and I will have a full time job by the time my grace period on college loans runs out in six months! Wish me luck!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Weekend Adventure

Sarah and I decided to spend the day hiking and driving around some of our favorite places near Blacksburg. We started out by hiking to Bear Cliffs, which is one of the lesser known hikes near Blacksburg. Bear Cliffs is just past The Mountain Lake Resort, which is famous for being the place where the movie Dirty Dancing was filmed. The hike is two miles round trip, and offers some great scenery. Unfortunately we weren't able to see the Virginia Tech campus due to the heat and humidity creating a haze, but it was still a great view.
We then drove a few miles up the road and went on a 4WD only trail. The trail was a lot of fun, and there were some great mud holes and some challenging spots on the trail. My jeep is now happy because it is covered with mud! This hole was a little challenging because I didn't find the deep spot that I was looking for and ended up sinking the front of the jeep so far that the water and mud came up over the windshield.
It was no problem for my jeep and we kept on going down the trail until we got to the Butt Mountain overlook and fire tower at about 4000 feet elevation. We stopped and took a few pictures and were lucky enough to be able to see the New River snaking through the valley below. This was the highest point on the jeep trail, so the road was all down hill and in better shape from that point on. At one point a hen turkey ran across the road and was too quick for us to get a picture of her. All in all it was a beautiful day spent hiking and driving through the National Forest just outside of Blacksburg Virginia!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Drooling Over the Thought of Turkey

I thought I was starting to recover from the turkey fiasco that was last weekend, and then my stomach started to growl. You would think McDonald's or pizza would pop into the average college student's head, but noooo, it has to be something to do with turkeys. I guess I am detoxing from turkey season, and this is my payback for being addicted.
I love to fry a turkey, especially a young bird. A good turkey fryer, some peanut oil, good seasoning, and the right cooking time do wonders to a wild bird. Today however, I had turkey breast on the mind. For some reason I am craving marinated and grilled whole turkey breast. Since I didn't bag a bird to cook, I figure I'll share this easy little recipe and hopefully get turkeys off of my mind and stomach for good.
The way I like to cook my turkey breast is to first fillet it off the breast bone very carefully so as to not lose any meat. If there is any fat at all, trim it off. Wash off the meat and set it aside. Then, get some Italian Salad dressing and pour it into a large bowl or dish that is deep enough to cover most of a turkey breast. Next, get some dry mustard and put approximately one tablespoon of the mustard into the salad dressing. Whisk the mixture until the mustard isn't clumped up at all.
Put the turkey breast into the mixture and poke a few holes into the breast with a fork. Cover, and put into the fridge for 24 hours, flipping the breast over after 12 hours.
You can cook this in the oven, or on the grill, and cook it just like you would any chicken breast. I prefer to roll the breast like the ones you can buy from the store and wrap it with butchers twine. You can lay the breast flat like a chicken breast, but I feel this tends to dry the meat out easier. When I grill the turkey, I use medium heat, and baste the breast with the marinade so that the meat doesn't dry out.
Use your own judgment as to when the meat is done, again, it should look and cut similarly to the way done chicken breast does. Laying the breast flat on the grill definitely cooks it faster than rolling it up with butchers twine, but that is up to you to decide how to cook it! The turkey goes great with some wild rice, sauteed asparagus, and a nice Riesling.(Okay, that sounded snobby, but trust me, it is good!)
Hopefully somebody out there will have bagged a bird and has some turkey breasts to try it out on!

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Week Ahead

This is going to be a busy week for me. I have two exams, plus I have to start getting ready for graduation and moving out of my apartment. I doubt I will have much time to blog this week, but I hope to have an outdoors filled weekend when my girlfriend comes down to visit. The weather is supposed to be great, so we may get a chance to go hiking and possibly fishing. We may go check out the Bassmaster Elite Series Blue Ridge Brawl at nearby Smith Mountain Lake. I haven't visited the lake yet during my stay in Southwest Virginia, but I hear it is gorgeous! I need to find out a little more information on the event, but it would be cool to go check out the launch or weigh in on Saturday or Sunday morning. Once this rough week is over, I'll decide just what I want to do this weekend. Here are a few pictures of me and my best fishing buddy the last time we got to go fishing late last summer. If only she could learn to bait her own hook and take the fish off after she catches them...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Great Hunt Ends With A Miss

I was lucky enough to have my Dad go hunting with me this morning. It is only the second time he has ever gone turkey hunting, so I hoped I'd be able to get a bird in range or at least hear a bunch of birds. It's also my last day of turkey hunting this year, so I hoped it would turn out to be a great morning.
We got out to the farm at 5:30, and at 5:50 heard our first bird. He was in the same place I have been hearing birds the other two days I hunted this season. We eased back towards the birds, and as we crested a hill to drop into the woods, four other gobblers fired up. I pinpointed where they all were, and Dad and I set up 100 yards due East of where the hen was roosted the other day. It turned out that the two closest gobblers were in the same tree she was. The boys put on a show, and we must have heard about 150 gobbles before they flew down.
I started doing some tree yelps and was getting regular answers from the two gobblers in the tree West of us, as well as the other three to the South. We were lucky enough to be able to see one of the gobblers strut while he was in the tree. I did a flydown call, and about 5 minutes later both birds flew down towards us. The birds got quiet for awhile, and then I did a cutting sequence and we got lots of gobbles from everywhere, all within 200 yards.
A few minutes later, I started scratching the ground, trying to sound like a feeding hen. I also clucked and purred and all of a sudden, GOBBBBBBLLLLLEE, right in our faces, within 50 yards.
Unfortunately I set Dad and I up in a bad way, even though it was a good spot. Instead of sitting together, we were 10 yards apart. I should have sat with him so I could talk him through the process, but instead I had to whisper loudly, and when the bird was close, not at all. He was also torqued around to his left to try and get on where the bird was coming from.
Then, a white head came down the trail.20 yards, no shot. Bird hangs up, I cluck, and he starts walking. Ten yards from Dad and still no shot. It was a Jake, with a 5 inch beard, so I figured Dad couldn't see it and wasn't sure about shooting. Being afraid the bird would see us and run, I purred and he stuck his head up, but still no shot! So I hissed SHOOOOOT, right as Dad shot and the bird turned away. The bird flew a few feet, and then headed for the hills.
Turns out Dad couldn't see a beard so he was hesitant to shoot. He also had a small tree in the way, and because I was at a different angle I didn't realize he couldn't shoot. Needless to say, I am distraught, but Dad is laughing it off and saying how much fun it was. He's right, it's about the hunt, not the kill. I need to realize that I am still pretty new at this, so our combined inexperience is what cost us this bird.
This was probably the best hunt of any kind I have been on. It was beautiful this morning, there were lots of birds around, and we had a very close encounter with a bird. The best part is that I got to share it with my Dad, and I think I may be getting closer to getting him hooked on turkeys...
Here's a video that I took right before fly down. The gobbler answers my calls right at the end of the clip.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

My Morning Hunt

I made it home from Virginia Tech last night at about 11:30 pm. I set the alarm on my cell phone for 4:45 and promptly went to sleep. Unfortunately, I forgot to change the alarm from pm to am! My dad woke me up at 5:35, and I was able to get dressed and get out to the farm by 5:55. I hustled into the woods and managed to strike up a gobbler in the same place I did last weekend, except this time he was still on the roost. I pinpointed where he was and set up about 150 yards North of him, as it was already too light to sneak in any closer to his tree.
I started out with some soft tree calls and got him gobbling at almost every call I made. Unfortunately, my calls and his gobbling woke up the boss hen who was roosted about 75 yards due West of me. I was lucky enough to be able to watch her on the roost. She was pretty upset at my calling, and kept craning her neck trying to figure out which tree this other turkey was roosted in. Between 6:20 and 7:00 the gobbler gobbled close to 40 times. Then, right at 7:00, the hen pitched out of the tree and landed directly between me and the gobbler. She gave some pretty loud yelps once she hit the ground, and soon I heard the swoosh swoosh of the gobbler flying down. I can only assume she led him away from me, because there were no more gobbles after the flydown.
I stayed put until 8:00, and then went to where the gobbler had roosted with the hopes that he may return after he had taken care of business in the early morning. At 9:00, he fired back up about a half mile away and gobbled about 15 times, but never got any closer. I finally called it quits at 10:30 and hiked out of the woods. It was a beautiful morning and I can't wait to do it all again the next two days.
Tomorrow I am hunting another farm a half mile down the road from the farm I hunted today, hopefully the place where the gobbler from this morning ended up. I have never turkey hunted at this farm before so we'll see what happens! Should be a good morning.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Long Weekend

In a few hours I will be finishing up the last lab of my college career and then heading home for a long and hopefully enjoyable weekend. It should be filled with good weather, great hunting, and a chance to see some of my extended family. Hopefully I'll get a bird or two, but even if I don't it will be a great mini vacation before my last weeks of school and my finals.
I may try this gadget I added to my blog last night that enables you to send texts and supposedly pictures from your mobile phone. It would be cool to give "updates from the field," especially if I am going to hunt from 6 am until Noon. I got the texts to work, but I can't figure out how to send pictures...Maybe one of you tech savvy bloggers out there would be willing to give me some advice. Thanks to all who left comments on my blog, they really give me extra motivation to keep this blogging experiment going!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Remembering April 16, 2007

Once again, I am stranded at school working on a paper. I am going to substitute an original post with something I wrote two years ago following the tragedy at my school, Virginia Tech. This was posted on the Bright Idea Outdoors Weblog shortly following the tragedy, but I'll go ahead and post it now that I have my own blog. Hopefully I will have a turkey story to write about on the 16th. Side note... I was home last year on the 16th and bagged my first gobbler that morning at about the same time the shootings had started the year before. I'll always remember dropping to my knees to thank God for the bird and to pray for those that had lost their lives at that moment the year before...

Candlelight on the Drill Field
April 17, 2006

Seven-thirty p.m. passed and my roommate and some friends were on our way to The Drill Field, the heart of the Virginia Tech campus. The mood during the two minute ride from my apartment to campus was not terribly somber, as my friends and I discussed the afternoon’s Convocation ceremony, as well as the media hype, and political repercussions that the previous day’s events will have on the state of Virginia, as well as the United States. There was even some laughing and joking, as well as discussion of music on the radio. Not until we had exited the car and walked across the giant Price’s Fork Road parking lot did all the feelings that go with such a tragedy begin to sink in to the small group I was a part of. At this moment we reached the stairs that led from the parking lot upwards towards the academic buildings on the Southwest side of campus.
Here we were handed candles for the imminent vigil, and we began the march up the stairs towards the Drill Field. Inadvertently we had taken a set of stairs the led past the side of Norris Hall, the site of 31 deaths the day before. Hoards of state police were present, and a mobile crime lab van was backed up to double doors that led into the building. The area from the edge of the path, all the way around Norris was encircled by yellow crime scene tape. As we reached the crest of the stairs and the ground leveled out we could begin to see the Drill Field, and the thousands already gathered to mourn the lives of those lost.
We found a spot on the edge of the crowd to the right of Burruss Hall, and waited for the vigil to begin. As the sun set, our small group was quickly surrounded as the mourners kept filing into the vigil. The ceremony began and the candles were lit, and sobs were soon audible to me as the speakers for the evening delivered the messages of hope and remembrance. All aspects of this scene touched me, but there are a few moments that I will carry in my heart forever.
The first moment was when a bugler played Taps, and the somber tones of the bugle were echoed off the buildings from across campus. The next moment was when I actually realized the amount of people that had turned out to mourn. I became cognizant of the mass of people that were really there because I noticed that the front of Burruss Hall was illuminated by the light of candles, nothing else. The ceremony was officially over but the crowd stayed, and in the moments that followed, I had a moment that truly touched me. From somewhere in the crowd, baritone voices began to sing “Amazing Grace,” and as I lifted my head to the sky to pray, I noticed the lit windows of a corner of Norris Hall. Lit in that window were the silhouettes of law enforcement, obviously investigating the crime scene. This is when the tragedy truly hit home for me, because I realized how surreal it was that 31 people had died a hundred steps from me, and that the killer had likely walked the very path I was standing on as he made his way to Norris Hall.
A female friend in our group began to cry, and as the cheers of “Let’s go…Hokies” filled the air, our group prepared to leave. Until this point I had felt like a person on the fringe of becoming a Hokie. I will be attending the school in the fall, but at many games, gatherings, and other campus events I had felt like an outsider. Now, sharing this moment with the whole Tech community, I was aware that the solidarity and strength displayed at this vigil were the real reasons I was drawn to become a student here. Then, just for a second, I shed a few tears, a half dozen at the most. To me, these tears signified that although unofficially a Hokie, I am already one at heart.
I will always remember this candlelight vigil as a moment in my life that will always be my first true memory of being a Hokie. Most importantly it was a moment for the Tech community to come together and unite. I will never forget the silence of forty thousand Hokies, or the light from forty thousand candles on the Drill Field, and I will never forget the variety of feelings that came over me as I stood honoring those lost on April 16th. I doubt anyone else at the candlelight vigil will ever forget this event, and to me, that means the vigil was a success. This is because the memories we have from the vigil are really the memories we will have of those lost in this horrible tragedy, and in turn those lost will never be forgotten.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Joined The OBS

I just saw today that I was added to the OBS blog roll. I've heard a lot about this organization from my cousin Matt and was encouraged to join. After reading some of the subjects that are discussed, as well as some of the members' blogs, I'm really excited to be a member. There are some blogs that I have viewed multiple times, and others that I still need to check out. Once my schedule calms down and I have a little more free time, I hope to be able to comment on more of these great blogs. Hopefully some folks out there will enjoy my blog as much as I enjoy theirs! Now it is back to writing a research paper on Charlemagne...what fun.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

A Terrible Day for Turkeys

Unfortunately my fears about the weather came true on Saturday morning. I fell asleep at 3 am to no rain or wind, and when I woke up an hour later, there were puddles outside and a cold wind out of the Northeast. Despite the lack of sleep and foul weather, I drove out to the farm at 5 am. Two of my hunting buddies showed up, and we sat until dawn cracked and then hiked into the apple orchard to try and elicit some gobbles and set up some decoys. No gobbles, 20 deer, and 2 hours later my buddies called it quits. I decided to hike the half mile to the other side of the property that is thickly wooded and try and strike up a bird. Finally, after cutting really loud with my mouth call, I got a gobble from within 200 yards. Unfortunately, the bird was henned up and I jumped two cattle that ran in his direction, so there wasn't much chance of him coming to me. I got two more gobbles out of him in the next hour, but each one was 100 yards further away from the first one. Even though I didn't get a bird, that first gobble of the year got my blood going!
I am going to eat Easter dinner with my family today, and then drive back to Virginia Tech for 3 days of paper writing and classes. Wednesday night at 8, I'll be back on the road for three days of hunting up here in Northern Virginia again. I think my luck should be better due to some weather changes and the fact that I will be hunting the property all by myself!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Tomorrow Morning

Tomorrow is the opening day of Spring Gobbler season in Virginia. Unfortunately it looks like it is going to rain here in Northern Virginia from about 3a.m. until noon. A little rain wouldn't bother me, but what I am worried about is the wind. Wind makes it harder to pinpoint or even hear where gobbles are coming from. Heck, sometimes the birds won't even gobble when it is windy. Hopefully I'll strike up a bird on the roost, but if I don't I'll hunt until I get a bird or it is quitting time at noon. Good luck to anyone else out there hunting tomorrow morning!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Turkey Crazy

Just received this from my lovely girlfriend Sarah. It about sums up my addiction to turkey hunting...

Two Days and A Wake Up

By this time on Friday I will be home and hopefully roosting some turkeys for the opening morning hunt on Saturday. The two farms I hunt are within a half a mile of each other. In all, it's about 500 acres that I have permission to hunt. The properties are very different despite their close proximity. My primary property has great cover and two different stands of mature hardwoods that the birds like to roost in. There is also an old apple orchard that the birds like to strut in, as well as a stand of white pines and a few pastures. One whole half of the farm is bordered by another property that has hardwoods going all the way to my other property a half mile away.
This property has about 40 acres of hardwoods, and then tree lines between 3 pastures and crop fields. I have never hunted gobblers there before, but I have the suspicion that those isolated crop fields may be the ticket for catching some strutting birds. Chances are I'll start my morning in the apple orchard at the other farm. Hopefully I'll have some birds fly off the roost into the open orchard. Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to walk these properties since deer season, so roosting some birds will be my only attempt at "scouting."
This evening is going to be spent packing all my gear into the car and cleaning my apartment so it isn't a dump when I get back. My schedule is looking like I'll be home for Easter and opening day this weekend. Then back to Tech Sunday night, only to turn around Wednesday afternoon and head home to hunt for 3 days straight. If my plans work out, I hope to use up the two turkey tags I have left for this license year. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Exhaustion Is Setting In...

After studying from 4 p.m. until 9 p.m. last night, then watching the NCAA Men's basketball championship, and then studying until 3 a.m. I thought I was tired. After getting 3 hours of sleep, going to class from 8 a.m. until 3 and taking an exam in essay format I realize I am exhausted! I should have skipped the ball game (I hate to see U.N.C. win), and gone to sleep earlier. Hopefully my studying pays off.
Now I have to write a six page paper, go to two more days of classes, and drive 3 hours to get home in time for the opening day of turkey season. I have been obsessing about opening day for months and suddenly today I am thinking more about fly fishing for smallmouth bass! I guess us sportsmen and women are fickle! I haven't gone fishing since July, and the promise of temperatures in the mid 70's plus all the new streamers I bought over the weekend keep me thinking about smallies! Maybe I'll be lucky enough to bag a gobbler by noon, grab a quick lunch, and then catch a few fish on the river by dinner time. Then again, maybe I'll get rid of the fishing itch tomorrow at the expense of some class and go fly fishing for some natives at this spot...

Monday, April 6, 2009

Not A Lot of Time Today...

I am in the process of studying for a test on the history of the Italian Renaissance that I have to take tomorrow, so I really don't have time to come up with a new post. I do however have a story I wrote a few years back about one of the coolest, and most frustrating, hunts I have ever been on. It was originally posted on, but that was a few years back. Hopefully somebody will read it who has never read it before...

I Think I'll Name My Decoy Murphy
April 14, 2007

After worrying about the weather for the past week and praying that the monsoon on track to hit Northern Virginia would stall long enough to allow a turkey hunt, my prayer came true. I was at my favorite place in the world, the 200 acre farm where I hunt in Clarke County. Better yet, I was all alone on this farm, where supposedly seventeen gobblers reside. As dawn was breaking, I was standing on a hill imitating an owl, and listening for answering gobbles. On the second hoot, five gobblers within a half mile answered at the same time.
Choosing which bird sounded closest, I headed into an old apple orchard that borders a thirty acre patch of mature hardwoods. I found my spot, an old apple tree that faces down a hill towards the woods, with only thirty yards of grass between me and the home of the aforementioned gobbler. I set out my decoy twenty yards away and nestled into the weeds underneath the apple tree. As I began to call, starting with some purrs and a few soft yelps, my quarry answered from his roost, a hundred yards deeper in the woods.
I played it safe and left off with the calling until he gobbled again, and then I let loose with a few yelps followed by a cutting sequence. I was greeted with a double gobble, and the sound of wings beating the air as the gobbler flew to the ground. I became more aggressive with my calling and the gobbler and I began to converse every five minutes or so. The gobbles came closer and closer, so I lowered my face mask and got in position to shoot.
But here’s where the fun starts. Being so intent on talking with Mr. Turkey, I had failed to notice the half dozen deer grazing up the grassy strip towards me. These deer were coming from exactly the spot I anticipated the gobbler to be coming from. The deer weren’t spooked by my calling which was great, however they did make it harder to notice any turkey heading my way. However, wild animals often play off each others senses, so I hoped the calm deer would help the approaching gobbler feel safe as well.
I had not heard the gobbler for a few minutes so I figured he had pinpointed where I was calling from. I began to call softly, purring and clucking to give him a sense of security. Then, right through the middle of the deer, the gobbler’s bobbing red head appeared. As the gobbler stopped in the middle of the deer to look for the love of his dreams, I shifted my gun into firing position. The gobbler and the deer were fifty yards away, just outside my comfort range, so I held off shooting and began to yelp softly at the bird. The gobbler suddenly spotted my decoy and started to strut and waltz his way into firing range. Little did I know that at this moment when I was preparing to harvest my first gobbler of the season, Murphy’s Law was about to take effect. For those of you who may not know, Murphy’s Law as I know it is “what can go wrong will go wrong at the most inopportune time.”
As I was drawing a bead on the gobbler’s head, a sudden movement ten feet to the front and right of me drew my attention. Out of the orchard stepped Murphy’s messenger of the day, a Red Fox. I can only assume the fox thought he would sneak over and see what a stupid hen, who sits in one spot and calls for a half an hour, tastes like. The fox looked to his right and saw the gobbler and the deer, and then to his left at me and my hen decoy. I became frantic and whispered at the fox to leave, and then kicked a foot at him, and all he did was move five feet closer and look me dead in the eyes from spitting distance away. As I prepared myself to fend off a pouncing fox, the fox turned, took two steps and pounced, not on me, but on my helpless decoy! The fox dragged the decoy to the ground, and realizing his meal was a phony, turned to look back at me, obviously with some sort of malicious intent in his dark eyes. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the deer and my gobbler scatter! The fox took a step towards me and having enough of my ruined hunt, (and fearing for my life) I shot into the ground near the fox, sending him sprinting into the woods. I then stood up and watched as my dreams of the past year went running into the forest, putting in alarm. Oh well, so much for marinated turkey breast tonight.
Anyway…I think I’ll name my decoy Murphy, because no matter how much I practice calling, nor how much money I spend on gear, Murphy’s Law will get me. I’ve called many a bird into range, but have never sealed the deal; Murphy has always gotten the best of me. Maybe if I start taking my nemesis Murphy into the woods with me, I won’t be stalked by Murphy and his evil tricks. So for now, I’ll take Murphy (the newly named decoy) and patch the teeth marks in her neck, and prepare for next weekend. There are plenty of birds, and I have plenty of time to plan my next hunt while my professors lecture me on the importance of math, proper grammar, and other such nonsense. Next weekend I plan to turn the tables on this whole turkey business because I am taking Murphy hunting for a change and we’re going to play some mean tricks on those old gobblers.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Turkey Season

Much to my family's relief, Virginia's Spring Gobbler season will open this coming Saturday, April 11. I say they will be relieved because I have been going crazy for turkey season since deer season essentially ended for me in January. I am compulsive when it comes to hunting, and practicing turkey calling in the house is one manifestation of this compulsion. I'll just say that my family does not appreciate the beauty of yelping, purring, and clucking as much as I do.
This will be my fourth spring turkey hunting, and I get more addicted to the sport each year. After two years of calling in birds, and having something go wrong at the last second every time one got close enough to shoot, I managed to bag my first spring bird during the opening week of the season last year.
I was lucky enough to be able to take a week off from school and spend the mornings chasing gobblers all around the farm I hunt in Northern Virginia. I don't think I will be lucky enough to hunt for a whole week this year, but at least I will get to hunt opening day. My friend who owns the farm said he saw some birds last weekend, so hopefully I'll get to at least hear some birds gobbling!
Hopefully I'll have some more turkey stories to post by next weekend, but for now I need to get back to schoolwork and applying for jobs. In the meantime, check out my cousin Matt's blog at and read some of his information on turkey hunting. (By the way, I need to give a big shout out to Matt for introducing me to blogging.)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

First Post

This post is as much for me as anybody else. I hope this blogging thing comes to me pretty easy. The problem could be that I enjoy it so much I won't concentrate on important things like finishing up my degree! I'll try and get some some sort of interesting post up by the end of this weekend, probably about turkey hunting, which starts one week from today in my home state of Virginia.