“Hey! Go Kick That Possum!” A Hunting Tale
Due to scheduling issues, I wasn't able to get my son out turkey hunting during youth season. The only day we had to get a bird during the regular season was yesterday. The last day of the season. And no, I am not a great hunter.
With that in mind, Art Poort was kind enough to give up his time to take us into the woods. The primary goal: get my son his first bird. Secondary goal: get me a bird. So we put on our camouflage, grabbed our shotguns and met at 5 in the morning to see if we can accomplish one or both.
With the "Super Luna", we didn't need flashlights, and were able to get the blind and get chairs set up without difficulty. Then you sit and wait. There's something about being in the woods at daybreak.
As the hoot owl starts calling, you listen for a gobble. There wasn't one. The owl called several times.....No gobble. THEN we heard it off in the distance. Tom was awake and calling for a mate. Art tried calling, but nothing was answering in our vicinity. So the decision was made to go after the gobbler that was active. If the turkeys aren't where you are, go to where THEY are. Makes sense.
So off we went. Art took point, my son next with me bringing up the rear. Occasionally, we'd stop so Art could call. No answer. But we'd hear the one in the distance. Once we reached the edge of the property we were hunting, it was determined that the turkey was on an adjacent parcel and out of our reach. "We still have a couple of places to try," said Art. So the hike continued.
We walked, Art called, he wasn't answered. As we walked, Art would point out things to teach my son about the outdoors. Of course, we saw poison ivy and he was taught how to identify it. We came across a mulberry tree and he got to try fresh mulberries for the first time. Then we saw a possum off the trail. Art looked at my son and says "Go kick that possum."
I knew where this was going, so when he looked at me for permission , I gave him the nod. He approached the possum and gave it a swift kick. We were expecting it to play dead. but NO. This possum turned and hissed at the boy. Art says "Kick him again". My son does. Possum snaps at him then runs under a rock. We looked at each other and said, "That didn't go as planned." Then went looking for more turkeys.
We walked the property and wound up back at our original site without seeing or hearing one. Time to pack up and go somewhere else. We drove various roads to see if we could see any we might be able to stalk. Nothing. Then we go out onto 65. As we're driving, we see one right next to a ridge. Art turns the truck around and pulls over on the opposite side of the ridge. Here we go. Time to see if we can sneak up and get one.
We walk across the field. Crouching to make sure we're out of his line of sight. We crawl up the ridge. We see him through the weeds. The idea is for my son to shoot and me back him up if necessary. Art is helping him.
He aims his gun, art cocks it and takes the safety off. The boy squeezes the trigger....click. It turns out that when Art flipped the selector switch, he actually engaged the safety. He looked at me and said "Kill it, Bruce." I start to squeeze my trigger. Turns out my safety is still on and I can't get the button to move. I finally click it off safety as the bird starts away from us. Art said "He's gone". I still had his head in my sights, so I took the shot. I figured the worst thing that would happen is I would miss. And that's exactly what I did. Bye bye birdie.
So back to the truck. We went to Art's land and he called, but no answer. Better luck next season. We had coffee and he took us back to my vehicle.