This past Saturday I was able to experience one of the best hunts I’ve had to date. I’ve been incredibly lucky to hunt various species such as Canada geese, wild turkey, whitetails, and various types of waterfowl in many different states. However, there is something special about hunting at home in NC. A great friend of mine was able to book a flight from New York and take a few days off so we could hunt the opening day of the NC turkey season together. After picking him up from RDU we were bound for Halifax County. We took advantage of the beautiful weather on Friday and set up a ground blind in a location we had pre-determined to be suitable for a hunting spot. By looking at high definition maps and seeing some good birds in that area the year before we had made the decision to hunt this area a couple of weeks prior and our boots-on-the-ground scouting confirmed this was a good idea.
We were able to roost some birds on Friday evening and were anxiously awaiting sunrise the next morning. As the sun rose we were wide-awake in our ground blind overlooking a very well maintained wooded path. There was roughly 200 yards of open road to our left and about 100 acres to our right that cut through mature hardwoods that lead to the Roanoke River. Numerous gobblers had been sounding off prior to sunrise at every owl hoot throughout the bottom. The vocal birds did as they usually do and became tight-lipped when their feet hit the ground. After a few subtle calls, two birds sounded off at what we suspected to be about 300 yards away. Shortly thereafter they did the same but much closer. Soon enough, with a little coaxing with the help of a mouth call, they arrived to the logging road. They worked their way to our blind in full strut, gobbling all the while. 1…2…3…Boom! We shot simultaneously and rolled both birds at 50 yards. The famed “double” that you see happen on hunting shows that you never really expect to happen to you, but in the back of your mind hoped it would…actually happened. And only 39 minutes into the season.
The smell of the fresh morning air, then gunpowder. The echoing of gobbling throughout flooded hardwood bottoms, then the reverberation of two gunshots throughout the timber. It all happened in just a few minutes but is recollected in a much slower fashion in memory. That’s the kind of hunt you hope for and rarely get. That’s the hunt that drives us to wake before the sun and hunt hard with very little sleep, leaving you exhausted and eager to do it again next weekend. It’s essentially what drives us hunters to the field every year. Every season. Yet it’s not what dictates a successful hunt or not. The time with family and friends is what decides whether or not a hunt is successful. Regardless of how long you have hunted or will continue to hunt, that’s something that needs to be understood and respected.
I understand what that drive is and how wild things such as aggressive toms pull us to the outdoors. I love the outdoors and it will always be a part of who I am and what I do. You’re probably the same way and I hope that at some point, if the opportunity presents itself, I am able to assist you in finding a place for you to hunt and spend time with family and friends outdoors.