It's somewhat ironic that Red Hand Ranch came to be because of my complete and utter enchantment with the outdoor hunting life.
Turkey hunting was first brought up to me by my brother-in-law John. My reaction was basically ... ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?! Sit in the the woods before the sun rises. Be cold, get rained or snowed on and freeze your ass. Or when it's hot, fend off flies, mosquitoes and snakes. All while trying to entice some feathered Romeo to come into shooting range by producing sounds like an excited female bird. Yeah right ... sign me up, hahaha.
Well, believe it or not, that's what it's like. And damn if it ain't incredibly addictive. Three years now and I still don't have a bird. Both my sons beat me to it. But you know what? It's amazing. And I can't get enough. While there are many vocalizations that female birds use, I've managed to become quite good at three of them. It's just enough to draw in the toms. The day Kell harvested his bird we hunted together. It was at the farm of my friend George Colletti. He was gracious enough to give us permission to use his corn fields for hunting.
Two weeks earlier, I called in a bachelor group of 5 toms and jakes. My set up was wrong as they approached the decoy group from the road. I anticipated they would be on the opposite side of the field roosted on the mountainside. I threw off a long shot at the lead tom after the jakes busted me. Missed.
This day Kellen and I flanked the decoy grouping on either side. Wouldn't matter whether a bird approached from the road or the mountain, we had them both covered. Some early calling got the boys gobbling. I put the slate down and we waited. I had the mountainside again while Kell had the road. After some time had passed and I was scoping out the gully at the base of the mountain ... suddenly ... BOOM. It had to be Kellen's gun. I turned and sure enough there in the middle of our decoy set up was a flopping male. Kellen nailed him. It was the coolest feeling. The plan worked, only not exactly as I had thought it would. The jake came in between us, crossing the hedgerow and barb wire fence from a field directly behind us. Kellen was alert enough to size up the situation and not spook the bird . BAM ... he took him.
As we were loading up our truck to leave, down the road comes a dark blue pick-up. It was George coming back from town. Kellen held up the turkey. The three of us must have looked like grinning idiots. He was as happy for our success as we were. It was a great morning and I couldn't wait to get back to Red Hand to show off Kellen's bird. The feather pattern on the jake was in excellent condition and the coloration on his head was a distinct red and blue fringed with a little white. Should make a beautiful flying mount.