Hey Rob, what's all that white stuff out there, " I screamed over the howling of the wind. "It's snow you idiot", he yelled back. "Since when do we get snow in late May here in Minnesota", I quipped back. Rob was too busy trying to light a fire in our makeshift campsite to even answer back. "Faw-kinn-ae", I said to myself, "This is my last day to bag a spring turkey and I'll be going home empty handed." I hadn't fully prepared for 10 inches of snow. "What bird in his right mind would even come down out of the roost," my turkey hunting partner of 12 years mumbled over a cup of luke warm coffee. It didn't matter. All I wanted to do is find a spot out of the wind to set up my turkey decoy, snuggle in next to a tree and take a nap.
After an invigorating 5 minute canoe ride and 20 minute walk, I found the spot where I had heard birds going up to roost the night before. I placed my decoy 20 yards out from a very large fallen oak right in the middle of an old logging road running along the Zumbro River. I hunkered down next to the big dead oak and began to wait. I looked at my watch. It was 5:50 a.m.
About 5 minutes later an amazing thing happened. I noticed the snow letting up and the wind calming a little. There was even a break in the dark grey sky above and a hint of orange-yellow in the morning sky to the east. Before I could even blink, the snow stopped altogether and the once insistent wind had almost stopped. My indignation was fast turning to elation. "Faw-kinn-ae", I whispered smiling to myself, "I just may get some action today after all."
I decided I would give a little scratch on the slate to see if the birds from the evening before were awake yet. Before I could even finish a weak attempt at a purring hen, I heard a big tom boom in a tree 75 yards right in front of me. Then two of his tree mates gave it their best shot. Then from across the ridge, three more toms thundered back. Before I knew it toms and hens were talking and purring to the point where I could barley hear myself think! Then it happened... I heard the flapping of wings through the trees. The first bird of the morning was coming out of the roost. But where was he going to land I wondered? Then more birds began leaving the roost. In all the excitement I had forgotten all about my cold fingers and wet butt.
One by one, dark forms began appearing from what seemed like everywhere. The sound from their cupped wings reminded me of air force fighter jets flying through the sky. Their silhouettes looked more like the size of B-1 bombers! Faw-kinn-ae I thought, this is unbelievable. The first bird landed, then the second, then the third. Before I knew it 31 birds were on the ground within spitting distance of my now warm body. Blood had returned to my extremities and I witnessed Mother Nature's most incredible courtship display. 16 of the 31 birds turned out to be toms or jakes. For one hour they strutted for my decoy, the hens and for each other. Six of the birds went easily over 25 pounds and two were pushing 30 without question.
I never lifted my gun that morning. That was the best performance I could ever witness in nature and I wasn't going to spoil it by throwing some copper coated lead into the air. Rob showed up not 10 minutes after the display was over with a smile on his face as big as the canoe we paddled to get here. It turns out he had set up and moved twice to within binocular range of my little show. "Did you know there were 3 more hens feeding behind you?" Rob said in almost disbelief. I just stopped and looked back to the spot of that raw display of testosterone and feathers almost thinking it was all a dream. "Faw-kinn-ae", I said to him smiling, "Faw-kinn-ae."
Submitted by Justin Credible