Its days like this that reminds me why the first thing that popped into my mind when naming this blog was Shenanigans. A shenanigan normally means trickery, pranks, deceit or mischief; but is often slang for calamity, chaotic misadventures and acts of tomfoolery. But the definition that hit home with me when it came to hunting is that in the Urban Dictionary “a wild goose chase; many clues that potentially lead to one impressive prize or outcome, but not always.”
Brief calamity is what we experienced the first thing this morning…in the dark. Richard was not too amused by it, but after it was all over I kind of found it comical. We left the house at 4:45 a.m. giving us an extra 15 minutes to set up the blind. The morning before, we took the blind down and hid it in the brush so that we would not have to carry the blind in. The particular area we are hunting is close to a roadway and not knowing this area well we felt it would be wise not to leave the blind up for someone to steal. This particular blind has the hub system on all four walls and in the ceiling. The instructions are simple: Unpack the blind from zippered carrying case. Place all four feet on the ground and let go of the blind and let it lay flat on the ground; the roof will be on the top. Grasp the nylon pull strap and pull the roof up until it pops in place. Follow these instructions for each wall. Secure stakes on the inside of the blind. IMPORTANT NOTE: Pull the roof top into place first. DO NOT pull side out first.
Okay, when instructions include and important note and it is capitalized it should be a clue that this is imperative information that one needs to take heed to. I know that by now you know exactly where this is going. On our way to our spot, Richard stopped in the field to place two hen decoys and I walked over to the spot where we were going to place the blind and waited on Richard to get it from the row of weeds. He laid the blind bag on the ground and I unzipped it, peeled the bag off and set the feet on the ground and let the blind fall open on the ground. Up until this point, things were going well. We didn’t have to use a flash light, although it was dark; we still were able to function without one. I stepped on the roof material of the blind to grasp the nylon tab to pull the roof in place. Shwoop!! The roof popped in place perfectly.
I pointed at one of the sides for Richard to pull in place and I looked for a tab on the other. I felt Richard tug once or twice, then a big tug that moved the blind. I was still trying to find a tab. I went to the front…there wasn’t a front. I looked up and Richard was right in my face whispering something but I cut him off and said tug a side, any side. He said, “I did. I have been tugging.” We started wrestling with the blind. Richard stopped at one point and looked at me. I looked at him and said “tug, tug, tug!” He mouthed back with a little voice mixed in…”I HAVE BEEN TUGGING!! It won’t open.”
I told him to wait a minute and I started feeling around all of the edges…Lo and behold, I had pulled a side out. WOW!! No wonder the company stressed not to pull a side out first. We had a mess. Two of the torsion bars on the inside of the blind had fallen out of the hubs. I pushed the blind up and got on the inside to try to put them back together and ended up with a twisted mess; not only was the blind, the screen, the window shade and my hair twisted up around one of the poles—the poles had gotten swapped and would not reach the corners. So needless to say it took the entire 15 extra minutes we had to just get that one mess untangled and the poles put back in place on just that one wall.
I backed out of the blind I popped the side back down and relocated the roof portion and pulled it into place. Amazingly, as it should, all of the side popped into place easily and the blind was now standing freely. Of course all of the window blinds were now laying in a pile on the ground and needed to be placed back into the windows…luckily the screens were Velcro and still in place cause at that point that would have sent Richard over the edge; it was bad enough that he was now sweating and fussing that we probably ran every living creature in the woods into the back forty acres and across the creek.
I had to shed my base layer top and then I quickly put my ESP ear protection in, my gloves and facemask on and I settled in my chair to catch my breath. Ten minutes later Richard was still fussing about the blind under his breath. I couldn’t help but laugh at this point because, that my friends, was a true example of calamity. All I could think about was during that heated moment, as frustrated as Richard was, if that one side would have collapsed with me in the blind, Richard probably would have just rolled the entire blind up with me in it and placed it back in the bag and zipped it shut. Normally I am the one to lose my temper with malfunctioning hunting gear; just ask me about the time I couldn’t get a bow hanger into a hardwood and tossed it as hard as my frustration would allow into the woods behind my stand, where it still lays to this day rusting away into eternity. You probably really had to be there to get the whole effect.
We were in the blind about 30 minutes when we heard the first gobble which was behind us. Shortly after that Richard made a fly-down cackle and few clucks and a hen answered, mocking the same sounds. For about 45 minutes we listened as the tom kept gobbling with Richard making a call every now and again. The tom just didn’t seem to be getting any closer. He was in a clearing behind us but in an area we couldn’t access from where we were sitting. We could tell at this point that is was highly likely that the hens we heard behind us were now with him because we didn’t hear anymore out of the hens. At one point we got out of the blind and walked closer to the gobbling but were unable to find a way across without getting busted by the birds. We never did see the birds we just heard the Grand Poopah gobbling as if he was the maestro of the parade.
We went back to the blind and decided that the best thing for us to do was to take the blind down and get out of that field before the birds came into the bottom of the field and pinned us down. They surely were not going to come up into the area we were in this late in the morning. We called the hunt at 9:00 a.m. and packed everything back to the truck with plans to return next weekend and spend more time in the field. Richard had to help plant at the lodge this weekend so we were rushed in the mornings to get back home. Next weekend will be a different story and I am sure we will probably take the opportunity to scout the other portion of the land that we haven’t even stepped foot on yet. We have a photography class to go to tomorrow night and I have deadlines on two articles due this week so my week should pass by pretty fast.