We were up, dressed, loaded and on our way to the hunting land before the time on Clyde’s clock on the dash read 5:00 a.m. My thoughts were, if the morning plays out like I have spent the last two days rehearsing in my mind, we might be back home before 8 a.m. with the Grand Poopah in my turkey vest….but of course a big part of me knew that was on the optimistic side of thinking.
We pulled up to the gate, gathered up all our gear and started our walk in. The air was damp with a strange grey hue in the sky. Mister even stopped at one point and asked me “Is it just my eyes or does everything seem gray to you too?” I replied, “yeah, it is kind of gray.” As he started walking again with me behind him, I thought to myself that I hope this morning doesn’t turn out the way it did the last time someone asked me that exact question. My father asked me that just before he had complete kidney failure. The thought kind of sent an eerie chill down my spine but I brushed it off.
As we rounded the corner to walk out into the cow pasture, I could just make out black dots scattered across the area. Cows!! Oh boy! The first few minutes of daylight is going to bring in a few curious cows to the decoy….if we are lucky they won’t knock it over and if all goes well, they will move out of the area so I will have clear shooting in every direction in front of me.
When we reached our spot, I started setting up as Mister crept onto the field to place a decoy. We were only using a single decoy this morning, the Hunter’s Specialties Suzie Snood. When Mister made it back to the tree it didn’t take us long to get settled in. Now the wait was on for the first gobble.
A lot of things cross your mind in the still of the morning sitting at the base of a pine tree. As I was deep in thought, I felt the coolness of the ground rise as the morning was waking up. I started to turn my head to look at Mister and movement caught my eye in the gray of the morning.
COYOTE!!! I swung my head around to Mister and pointed rather urgently toward the coyote that was trotting past our decoy. Just as it all registered with both of us, two coyotes were running straight to the decoy with a smaller one following. As the two coyotes reached the decoy, one lunged at the decoy with its head cocked, ears back and mouth wide open. The decoy was in its mouth as the sound of the plastic against its teeth filled the air. The coyote dropped the decoy as quick as it picked it up. All three were in high gear towards the tree line a mere 70 yards from the decoy, now laying on the ground. Decoy Down!!
Mister and I giggled as I am sure he was thinking what I was….”Did that just happen?” He quickly got up and crept out to the decoy to set it back up. A cow caught glimpse of him and now all eyes were on the decoy….a herd full of eyes. Mister sat down as the cows started to move in.
The lead cow stopped about 50 yards from the decoy waiting on reinforcement from other cows who were making their way across the pasture….all eyes on the decoy.
By this time it was light enough that we should have already heard gobbles and probably should have had birds on the ground from their roost. We had not heard a single gobble or seen a single bird. The morning just wasn’t what I had envisioned….now, the cows were making their way to the decoy in numbers. Soon the decoy would probably be on the ground a second time.
With the coyotes running right under the roosting area and cows in front of us, terrorizing Suzie Snood…we decided to give up and return in the morning; or maybe even this afternoon, if it doesn’t rain.
Mister and I walked out to pick up the decoy and upon closer inspection found puncture holes from a set of top and bottom teeth. I kind of know how the decoy felt….with the air let out of it….it just adds to the mystique of The Grand Poopah. To be continued…..