The one week fall turkey hunt came to an end about a month ago.
For many of us, this may have been our only success in the summer lottery draw system for a big-game tag in the state of Arizona.
With the permit in hand, I had a chance to wander the woods in hopes of calling an often silent bird at this time of year.
The springtime is traditionally the time to call wild turkeys when “Old Tom” is gathering his harem of hens during the breeding season.
Nevertheless, I put a couple of calls in my pocket and went to some old hotspots with the enthusiasm of an early morning opening day.
The wind did not cooperate with a steady 15- to 20-mile gale, which probably limited my calling to a 50-yard radius and not good for calling turkeys.
If a bird did answer the call, I couldn’t hear with my aging ears and the constant commotion of the wind in the pine trees.
The morning hike did produce a few tracks and scratches that were in some heavy oak thickets that had acorns the size of my thumbnail all over the ground. This area was worth revisiting when a calm morning would prevail.
Later in the season, I was in that thicket at first light and set up with an alligator juniper as my backdrop.
As I began calling, the crisp silence allowed my call to penetrate the canyon for at least a quarter of a mile in either direction. These were perfect conditions for a turkey to hear my call and hopefully respond.
After more than a half hour of complete silence other than me periodically using my mouth diaphragm, I was starting to nod off.
The stillness was broken by a loud huffing noise and the clicking of teeth, similar to the sound a javelina makes when startled only much louder.
I whirled to the noise and I was staring at a full-size black bear at a distance of about 25 yards!
I don’t know if I called the bear in or he was just wandering by, but he certainly got my attention.
I retreated out of that canyon allowing that bruin to finish his acorn breakfast with no further disturbances from a turkey that looked like a man in camouflage.
This weekend, enjoy the outdoors and all the thrills it provides in God’s creation.