May 21, 2019
Patience and Persistence.
Spring is an exciting time of year for any outdoor enthusiast. Whether you are chasing walleye in the river systems, jigging panfish on your local lake, or trying to ground and pound a Wisconsin long beard; it is an exciting time of year for sure. For myself, the past couple of months have been nothing but exciting. Along the way though, I have learned the importance of patience and persistence.
This spring I was blessed to draw a 2019 Season One Turkey tag. I had permission for a few different properties and had my eye on a couple mature birds. My season came, and with it, much excitement and anticipation for those bellowing gobbles and close encounters. After sitting opening morning without much action I decided to go mobile on nearby public land with my good friend Rich. After locating a good bird and pushing it into some tall grass, I began my stalk to close the distance. After getting too close for comfort, this particular turkey got up not exactly where I was expecting and I missed……My next sit was two mornings later on the Friday of season one. Winds were gusting up to 20 mph and hearing any morning gobbles was next to impossible. After sitting for a couple hours waiting to see if anything may wonder into my set or be close enough to hear one or two of my calls, I was greeted by a mature tom who had snuck to 60 yards behind me. This gobbler had made absolutely no noise and I had no idea he was there. After getting turned around and repositioned I had my bead on him. I watched him slowly closing the distance. He was at about 40 yards when I decided to take my shot…….missed again. Looking back, I made a huge mistake on this bird. I was not patient and rushed the shot. The bird was coming to my set and I made a crucial mistake by not waiting and allowing my setup to work for me.
Fast forward to the next morning, Saturday of season one. After having no success during the morning sit, I once again went mobile on some public land with my friend Rich. We stopped at a few spots and tried to locate birds with no luck. It took us until our third stop before we located a potential long beard. As we started heading to where we wanted to set up we heard a gobble and realized this particular bird was already close and we had little to no time to get set and ready. Long story short, there were two nice birds that made their way to 25 yards, and I had a “now or never” type situation when the bigger of the two toms got skittish and……I missed again. At this point my patience was running low, my confidence was anything but high and my disbelief for having just missed my 3rdbird in four days was unmeasurable.
Persistence was the word for the success to this hunt. Rich, knowing this piece of public land well told me we could probably go to the back side of this particular ridge and possibly call these exact birds back into shooting range. This was exactly what we did. We discussed where we probably had to get to and where we thought the birds/bird would come from. After a few adjustments and moves we had a gobbler coming right to us up the ridge. At 30 yards we were blessed with a full strutted fanned out tom, and at 25 yards my tag was punched! I look back and still cannot believe I missed three other birds, but remember that no matter how hard you may prepare everything happens for a reason.
Fast forward a couple weeks to opening weekend of fishing for the state of Wisconsin. I had all my gear prepared, the boat was ready to go, the weather forecast looked promising and I was on the water by 5:00 a.m. I could not have asked for a better start to a Saturday morning. Move the clock to about 1 p.m. that day and I had yet to boat my first fish…. My dad and brother in-law, who were both in the boat with me, had caught, landed, and released multiple fish that morning. I had missed a couple and had a couple up to the boat but had not officially landed a fish for the first eight hours of the day. As I was sitting there eating my lunch and thinking, I realized the only thing I could control was getting back out there and throwing some more casts. The afternoon was more favorable. I FINALLY landed my first fish shortly after lunch and the rest was history. All afternoon was filled with steady, not great, but steady action. I was able to land a few decent fish and after 14 hours of fishing I was able to leave the lake with a smile and some memories.
Behind both of these stories, my turkey season and opening day of fishing, lies one truth; patience and persistence pays off.