I’ve said it a million times before- A bad day of turkey hunting is still a good day of turkey hunting.
But there are “less good” days mind you. And I have experienced a few of them these past couple years. This spring I had lots of opportunities to hunt my favorite birds and it made for some great memories sitting under trees and contemplating life.
At one point Adam and I got stuck in a rain storm early one morning in Wilson county watching a tom turkey strutt across a field 160 yards away. He never moved more than 20 yards in either direction. Two and a half hours snuck by and our legs were cramping. We left feeling very unsatisfied knowing he was right there…but gosh darn it, we had things to do.
In my usual fashion I had convinced myself that I had no idea how to turkey hunt, even if I had been doing it for 7 years and had harvested a few turkeys before.
Back in South Texas this year Adam filled a turkey tag on opening day. Among our friends Whitney, Brandon and I he has earned the name the “Gobbler Getter” for reasons that are easily explainable. And yes you have to say it with a thick Texas accent. He gets gobblers. Or at least, seems to have the best luck of us all. He is patient with his calls, sets up the decoys just right, and can react on a dime.
This past weekend was the last weekend for spring season in south Texas. Our first morning the Gobbler Getter sat with Brandon under what we call the “Money Tree” and by 7:15 a bird was down. It rained turkeys that morning as Whitney and I watched them fly over our heads. After three years of hunting these elusive birds Brandon harvested his first Rio gobbler- a double beared one at that! We were all elated and proud. Hunting together for the third year now has become one of our most cherished trips of the year. It’s like being with family.
I found myself that evening sitting under “Money Tree 2” with you guessed, the Gobbler Getter. It had been a hot day, close to 95 degrees, and the evening breeze was welcoming. One great thing about hunting turkeys is they are active all day and return to large mature trees to roost at night. Unlike deer, you know they won’t be running around eating at night and snoozing during the day.
Sundown was 8:09 and we could hear turkeys all around us but the brush kept them shrouded in mystery. When all of the sudden Adam, ahem, I mean the Gobbler Getter, whispered to me that there were two toms about 60 yards away from us running. He didn’t mention where they were running to.
My gut reaction was that they were running away. I was never much of an optimist. Even so, I secured my shotgun comfortably, took it off safety and waited. Reminded myself to aim. aim. aim. The two rios appeared out of nowhere behind our hen decoy. I could barely make out their necks and heads above the wildflowers and brush. To me they looked like two snakes winding back and forth in the air. I took a few seconds to aim- Rio down!
For the second year in a row when we got home from our wonderful weekend with friends I made turkey and egg noodles for dinner. My Grandma Moreck used to make a similar and simpler tasting dish with chicken. An on again off again single mother of four large boys, I don’t think she could afford many fresh herbs or spices in South Akron. Even so, my mother picked up the recipe from her and I hear that my cousin carries on the tradition as well. It is comfort food at its finest and earns the “bowl licker” award in our house.
My spin on it of course is to use wild game instead. I had a ton of fresh rosemary from an event last week at Rain Lily Farm in Austin and the dish came to life: Rosemary & sage wild turkey with egg noodles.
**My dad has informed me that grandma Moreck (his mom) used to serve this dish over potatoes with homemade rolls and a SIDE of fried chicken. No wonder my dad loves two things in life: fried chicken and baked potatoes. I guess when you have boys that grow up to be 6’2-6’9 athletes you knew the definition of carbo loading before it was a thing.