Less than ten minutes from the truck, I am glad that I listened to Dan’s suggestion to switch from the athletic shoes to the high-top rubber boots. Where we parked, on top of the ridge, a gentle wind had kept the grass free of dew. Here, along the line of the woods stretching along the ditch, the brome and fescue are heavy with it. I would have been soaked from foot to thigh already. Wet feet would ruin a good hunt.
My third son, Daniel, has been the premier outdoorsman of the family since his youth. His dedication has cultivated a skill level that rivals that of anyone I’ve ever met. Although we have fished together since he was a kid, this is the first time we’ve ever been on a hunt together.
This one is happening now because he and Christy made the five hundred mile drive from western Kentucky with their two children, arriving just after ten o’clock Thursday night. He and I are here on a church member’s farm in Doniphan County, Kansas, by five-thirty the next morning. We would have been here a half-hour earlier but he could not convince me that it would be daylight this early. It is not the first time that my opinion substituted for knowledge; it might not be the last time, either.
What is knowledge in pretty short order is that my son is very good at stalking and calling in wild turkey. Despite the disadvantage of never having been in this area before, within two hours he has gained return calls from several turkeys and made visual on at least three birds. In less than an hour the following morning, he located three birds and brought a tom in from over four hundred yards away to within forty feet of our position.
We end up leaving perhaps the largest turkey that Dan has ever seen still roaming the woods and fields of northeastern Kansas. Leaving the guns at home and the permits unpurchased, we chose to make this a hunt for memories instead of feathers, flesh and trophies. And, we have succeeded even beyond my expectation.
Walking back to the truck, I think about the years, the miles and this experience. I think, too, about how pleased our heavenly Father is when we dedicate ourselves in this way to cultivating our spiritual gifts.