Reputation, dedication inspire turkey hunters

From the book Tenth Legion by Tom Kelly: “When there is nothing left of the original organization but the signs and the flags, the previously established reputation feeds upon itself. The people who formed this reputation, the men who created the excellence, may have been dead and gone a hundred years; but if the excellence they first created was good enough, it is of itself self perpetuating.

“Perhaps the reputation inspires the men who follow. Perhaps because of it, the men who follow rise above themselves to match it. But at any rate it happens, and it has been happening for a very long time. For example.

“At the Normandy landings in 1944, the right flank regiment at Omaha Beach was the 116th Infantry. It was taken temporarily from its parent division, selected solely because of its excellence, and attached to another division, and put into this situation.

“Its performance was superior, as it was only to be expected that it should have been. Eighty-two years previously its performance had likewise been superior. Eighty-two years previously the 116th Infantry had been the Stonewall Brigade.

“When a small city state in middle Italy conquered the world, and kept it conquered for five centuries, historians agree generally that of all the Roman Legions, there was none to match the Tenth.

“Three hundred years after the formation of the original Tenth, when no great grandfather left alive could remember the great grandson of the youngest man of the original group, the legend of the Tenth grew and fed upon itself and was self sustaining.”

I like this little bit of history and dedication. And so it is with many turkey hunters. March 24 marked the opening of turkey season in my part of northeast Louisiana. True to fashion, in the darkness of the morning, I found myself and hunting buddy Mike May in the woods.

My temperature gauge at the camp showed it to be 60 degrees at 4:30 a.m. Dressing as lightly as I could, I immediately started spraying down with Deet upon getting out of the Toyota.

We had put some birds to sleep Friday evening and would get back in their area under the cloak of darkness that morning. Only, turkeys aren't that predictable. Within 100 yards of our first predetermined listening area, we walked under a turkey that apparently had never seen two lights coming through the woods; it flew off into the darkness. At the predetermined listening place, we stood in the darkness, waiting for the woods to wake up.

Shortly after first light, Mike owled and a turkey gobbled, but not where he was supposed to be. Mike couldn't stand it. “I'm gone,” he said as I was putting out my decoys. I had just sat down when I heard the Friday evening bird fly off the roost. But he flew over me, back the way Mike and I had come. Boy, this oughta be good.

Needless to say, I didn't see or hear a turkey after daylight made its way into the woods. At 11 a.m. I packed up and started the one mile walk back to the truck. About halfway to the truck a jake that must have been 8 feet long ran across the old road just out of shooting range. I never did get to see what was after him.

Turkey season might very well be wide open now across the South. Folks, it's hot and dry.

The warmer than average weather will bring out the insects and snakes. Do not go into the woods without some kind of good insect repellant.

Maybe we will experience the proverbial Easter cool snap that will make our birds a little more vocal. I think I'm going to wait until the first cool morning before I try this wild bird again.

Be mindful of fires around your camp during this turkey season. Snakes: You're on your own.

With the impending warmer weather and longer days, we will see more boats and motors being put in use. Take a few minutes of your time and equip your rig with an extra (tire and wheel).

There just ain't no telling how many rigs I've seen parked on the side of the road with a flat. Without an extra, about all you can do is literally everything out of the boat and go look for a tire or complete extra. My whole rig would be gone by the time I got back.

Be reminded that here in Louisiana a current boat registration, lifejackets for everyone, a fire extinguisher (in most cases), and the proper license for your fishing activity will keep the game wardens off of you about 99 percent of the time.

If you get a chance, take a kid hunting or fishing. For that matter, take anyone. One doesn't have to kill to enjoy the outdoors. Some of the best friends and meals are made “at the camp.”

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