Thursday, October 22, 2020

THE LAST PAINTING

April 2, 2012  

By Tim Williams (Waterfowl Legends Custom Calls)

 

In December 2011, we arrived at my Mother-in-law’s house. She was vey excited to tell me she had a very special gift for me and she could not wait to give it to me. I’m thinking Berretta or Benneli shotgun right? But really thinking some cool hunting stuff. On Christmas day she pulled out this wrapped picture. I’m thinking oh, another meaningless print as I unwrapped it. But it was a turkey hunting oil painting of a boss gobbler painted like my favorite hunting field.The Tom was strutting in the pines. It was done by Steve Hein, whose paintings are high priced and cherished by those who own one.

Turkey Hunting The Last PaintingIn February we were awakened out of our sleep to learn our worse nightmare. We had lost my Mother-in-law and my precious wife had lost her mother. After the shock of our family loss lessoned a little and the spring turkey season arrived, I had worked it out to be off for 20 days. We decided to hunt and film turkeys at our farm. My wife and I arrived and after a few days of low or no gobbling, I was really starting to get down as we usually have mega birds gobbling. I changed gears from turkeys to clearing the house perimeter property of unwanted trees and brush. I was surprised by the 6 feet plus snake that crossed my hand the day before and I had to pick him up and relocate to across the creek. We were sitting on our deck looking out across the field I hunt and my mind went back to the day before when 12 hens and one big gobbler walked across at 7 pm. My inside told me to go sit and a deep down drive told me to so I suited up and walked fast to the field. As I set there and just looked out over the field I knew I was at my home even though no birds showed up and suddenly I heard the wings of unknown numbers of close by birds flying up to roost. I had to wait till dusk to sneak out of my hide. I could not wait to get back to our house and tell my wife and video girl of the birds. We could not wait to get out the next morning. I set my clock for early so we could sneak in the dark I could not sleep all night. Finally as my alarm went off I sprung from bed excited and awoke my wife and hurriedly let the dogs out to go to the bathroom and to my horror it was pouring rain. I kept checking out the window and at first light it slowed to a drizzle. I sprung from our house knowing this was just me and them, no cameras. This was a special day. I hiked up the trail slowly trucking in and out of the pines. I was a ghost in the pines slowly getting closer to the roost. As I arrived at my ground blind of a quick brushed tree done the day before, I tucked in knowing I could not get a decoy in place with the birds so close by and it was already daylight. I hit a soft yelp and waited 10 minutes. Nothing. Was I busted? Had they seen me slip in or already came down and feed off? The knot in my belly felt like it was all for not. Then out of the mist came a glider, then 2, then 10. Oh no, they are feeding the wrong way. My heart is pounding. I hit a yelp then my secret weapon a cut and gobble came out of my mouth call. They turn and started coming back. Wait, they are all jakes. Damn, suddenly I hear hens from the bottom where they roosted. I cut at them and gobble. I get back what I want, an aggressive cut. The Boss Hen is pissed and coming. Now I’m worried where is that big Tom? She’s coming, the jakes are coming, will they bust me before I get a shot? I’m relying on my NatGear Camo to hide me. Now they are close Steam is coming out as they breathe and feed . The jakes are feeding within 5 feet, hens are 10 feet and closing. I can’t call. I’m Searching for the Boss. Oh my god there he is. His head is bright white, red and blue. He’s now within 20 yards but he’s super cautious. He’s seen this game before but the hens keep him slowly coming in. Now I can see the long rope He gobbles and the woods shake steam billers out with the cool air. I’m now ready to shoot but as he clears the hen he steps behind a big oak. I now have tunnel vision. I’m waiting on the head to pop out of the other side of the tree. He’s almost there. I click the safety off. In my tunnel vision I have forgotten the jake is at my feet. He sees me click off the safety and alarm putts. Oh no, they turn and run, I quickly pick up my gun and point at the tree where the Boss Gobbler is. All of a sudden he appears from behind the oak running. I see his head and point and shoot. A load of Winchester #6 is on his way. He hit hard and rolled. I jump up like a young gun and streak to him but the Turkey load has had done its job. As I knelt down to look at my bird, suddenly that painting she was so proud of and had painted for me popped in my mind and suddenly I realized how special this bird and that painting are, as a tear leaves my eye. In the end turkey hunting brought us together once again.

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