We've had a busy past couple of weeks at work so Dan and I decided to knock off Thursday and Friday. We actually managed to fit some work in but the primary goal was trying to get a turkey that eluded us on the last day of the season last year. So we headed up to my cabin, aka The Goat's Beard, in the north Georgia mountains.
We left out early Thursday and got there early enough to work and then get a run in. I hit one of my favorite trails that goes by Fall Branch Falls, some pretty forest, rushing creeks, open meadows, and nice winter views. I've even run past a few black bears on this trail over the past couple of years. At over a 1,000 feet elevation gain in 7 miles it's a nice run that doesn't require a recovery day.
Then we changed into camouflage coveralls and went back to the scene of the missed gobbler last year. That time was actually the first and only time I've ever been hunting. I had the opportunity to go with Dan, who grew up going with his dad. Dan has generously shared his hunting gear, shotguns, and fond stories of time well spent with his dad in the woods.
The attraction to hunting for me is primarily my innate drive for both self sufficiency and good food! I really want to get a turkey on my own, clean it, and smoke it on my Big Green Egg. And of course pair it with some good local vegetables. Also, this is the wilderness area in Chattahoochee National Forest where I do most of my trail running. Since hunters have always made me much more nervous than any other threat out there (including bears), I've always wanted to know their routine so I can prevent any mishaps. For instance, I've never really known how far off trail they go, what they look for, and what they can see. So I think I've become more educated now.
Back to Thursday. Although we made it back out to the woods there is not much to tell. Because we didn't see any turkeys at all while hunting....either Thursday or Friday morning. I will say that last year was pretty exciting because Dan is a good caller and brought in a couple of gobblers, but I didn't get a shot off. For those of you who are unfamiliar with turkey hunting (like me), the hunter sits very quiet in the forest and calls like the female (hen) like this....
and then it gets really exciting (heart pounding) when you hear this...
...because that's the male gobbler and you can shoot those. It's much more of a game and challenge than what I thought. But after two total hunting trips, I've never even shot the gun....just thought a lot about mating habits! Weird huh.
So after that we managed to get out for a good ride on our road bikes down Aska road to Skeenah gap. We joked that we have to be the first guys to have ever changed out of camo and into bike shorts. We had a good couple of days. And during our final ride back to the cabin on our bikes, we saw something that had eluded us for hours sitting silently in the woods.....two turkeys.