Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Up early, I got back on those Maine farm birds this morning . . . problem is, I never heard a gobble. Not one. It was an otherwise pleasant morning, not unlike the NH opener back on May 3 when I also heard nothing. Yep, I revisited the scene of yesterday's one-that-got-away setup, and found a little opening the tom used to move from the grassy field edge through the leafed-out edge cover into those dense birdy woods . . . solves that mystery. Again though, my cold calling got nothing going at all. It was as if the light switch was flipped to OFF.

Did hear that crazy lonesome cockbird ringneck crowing for company though . . .

It's been a good season: I started out many weeks ago hunting the snow and sleet of west Texas (you heard right), and have finished out here in northern New England on the edge of what feels like an approaching summer. I've shouldered several super longbeards, have been part of other memorable hunts (my buddy Jonathan Harling's 24# Wyoming Merriams is a good memory as that goes), passed on countless shortbeards, plus even one Maine jake recently that likely goes 15-16 pounds, and wears all of five inches (early '06 hatcher?).

As usual I remember the ones that have outfoxed me as much as the ones that I've tagged: the gobblers that have been in range and somehow slipped away, the toms that flat out beat me when they have only one mistake to make, and don't.

It's all good.

--Steve Hickoff

(Merriams strutter/NWTF photo)