Heat, then warmth, then beautiful at the wire. Wind. Showers. Rain. Tornado warnings Wednesday night. Hens calling the shots, stealing a strutting and gobbling longbeard off my muzzle at 60 yards or so, a different hen, midweek, coming into the oak mott with us, and the strutter reading her soon-to-be tentative cue and moving away--twice, then once again--spookier each time. Fine country lunches and suppers. Three longbeards tagged. Six hunters--three industry guys, three writers. Great camp. Waves of jakes coming to the calls, heads afire with taxidermy red, white and blue . . .
Yesterday morning (49 degrees and sunny after the front moved through) before our drive to the San Antonio airport, I called in four strutting and gobbling shortbeards in the false dawn (a wad of silhouetted birds), and later eight hens, several at a time coming from various directions, clucking, yelping, cutting. Forty-five minutes later a longbeard eased out of the woods at the other end of the pasture, popped into stut, and the jakes stacked up, all still puffed out, fans nearly full but still jakey. They faced him lined up in a row.
The hens stayed with the juvenile wannabes. The adult tom hung at a distance, a football field away, full fan strutting, a gorgeous thing in the morning sun, but not budging. By mid-morning I was back at camp packing . . .
It's all good.