Fishing for a living is awesome, but when spring comes it can be tough. April is always a busy month for tournaments – and the fishing is usually fantastic – but I really love to turkey hunt and tournaments can put a damper on that.
This year was looking to be another similar situation with two tournaments slated for April and I was thinking I’d be missing out on another turkey season. As we are all aware, the coronavirus has changed things a bit and suddenly a lot of us find we have a little more time on our hands. I’ve been using this time to organize tackle, to reflect on the first half of the season, to plant a garden and last but certainly not least, to spend time in the great outdoors chasing around a thunder chicken – aka a turkey.
Growing up all I knew was fishing and hunting. I took to fishing more as a kid and 30 years later I turned my dad’s hobby into my passion and career. A passion that certainly doesn’t go away, but one month a year I have other things on the brain. That’s the distinct sound a hunter knows as a gobble.
My first time turkey hunting was about seven years ago. We had a week break and we went to see our family in Virginia. Dad insisted we go turkey hunting in the morning while everyone was still sleeping or just getting up. I honestly thought the first time I heard a gobble that it was a dog that got loose. Only problem was three minutes later I’m staring at a gobbler in full strut and I was shaking like a leaf. I somehow managed to gain my composure, kill the turkey and a passion ignited. This is the only thing in life that makes me shake uncontrollably. I once said I wish bass fishing would do this to me, but I’m glad it doesn’t, or I would never make it through a tournament day. Problem is, the spring turkey season falls right in the middle of fishing season – whether that’s fishing for fun or tournaments. Like I said earlier, it’s almost like you need to pick turkey hunting or fishing.
When I’m home, I guide full-time on Lake Guntersville. If any of my clients are reading this, I’m sorry you’re learning that my “doctor appointment” wasn’t for my allergies, but my excuse so I could go hunting for a few hours in the morning. It’s such a great release to be in the woods before the sun comes up getting to take in the beautiful sights and sounds of nature. To me, hearing a gobble makes the entire day/trip worthwhile. It’s not about the hunt, it’s the time spent in the outdoors with my dad and not having the pressure of if I am going to catch them today. My livelihood isn’t on the line; no stress, no pressure, just pure joy and excitement.
As I write this, I’m making a checklist in my head of everything I need to go hunting in the morning. I’m glad that I get to pursue my professional fishing dream and turn that into my career, but I’m thankful that I’ve found and get to do the one thing in life that when I’m there nothing else seems to matter, which is turkey hunt. Any picture you see when I’m holding a turkey isn’t a forced smile – it’s genuine. So this spring if you have a chance go to the woods, give turkey hunting a try. That lost dog bark might just change your life.