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Morning Sun
  • DABLEMONT: A Far-Away Place For Far-Out Turkey Hunters

  • Wild turkey season is about to begin. I look forward to it so much most because I can get out deep into the woods in mid-week, beyond the point where the ATV’s go, and be completely alone all day.  In such a place, where access is gained by walking, if you meet someone, he will most likely be someone you are glad to share the woods with.

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  • Wild turkey season is about to begin. I look forward to it so much most because I can get out deep into the woods in mid-week, beyond the point where the ATV’s go, and be completely alone all day.  In such a place, where access is gained by walking, if you meet someone, he will most likely be someone you are glad to share the woods with.
    Because I could not walk for about eight months of my life, it perhaps means even more to me now to walk and walk and walk.   It is a gift we take for granted, a blessing that the mechanized modern outdoorsman has forgotten.  If you are a four-wheel fanatic, you miss more than you will ever know.  On quiet, slow-moving legs, a man can hear and see and smell the real outdoors and the things that live there.  Year after year, it becomes harder to find such places, as timbered ridge tops are cleared and huge green pastures are filled with great herds of cattle.
    It is so easy to get a photo of a wild gobbler today in those green pastures, but you may have to change the angle to keep cattle out of the background.  I have a favorite place where I can walk a ridge top and look down upon an eagle’s nest below me in the fork of a big sycamore tree.  When I photograph a gobbler there, there is no cow manure on his feet, he is colored by sunlight filtering through the branches of big oaks and hickories the timber cutters haven’t got to yet.  There will be morels growing in those woods, and wake-robin and spring beauties and dogs tooth violets blooming there.  It is public land, but seldom visited by today’s turkey hunters, because it is a long hard walk, and there are steep hills to climb.
    It isn’t so much a dead gobbler that I want any more.   I want to see new places and walk through woodlands where I might happen across a cave or waterfall, or find some rare wildflower.  I found an old log cabin a couple of years ago that must be a hundred and fifty years old, and a piece of an old civil war saber.
    Over the years I have found all sorts of things, walking slowly through the woods hunting turkeys.  I have found arrowheads and other Indian artifacts, groves of mushrooms so thick I couldn’t get them all in my sack, an ancient cowbell, and a 1922 license plate.  I found an old barn years back, filled with outdoor magazines, and assorted antiques from nearly 100 years ago. And then, every now and again, I find some old gobbler that is looking for a mate.
    But most of all, I find a contentment and a peace that I have never felt anywhere except in woods or along a river, still unmarred by man.  That is a rare thing today.  And what you can hear… the songs of birds, the screams of hawks, the bleat of a newborn fawn.  You can also hear, if you listen, the voice of the Creator, in the wind through the pines, the trickle of water over a ledge in the creek.  I know someday I will grow too old to walk so far and so long, and I will remember when I was blessed enough to hunt turkeys where lazy men do not tread.  But oh what a job it is to walk all that distance back, with a 20-pound gobbler over my shoulder.  Sometimes you have to really work to find something to complain about?
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