In 2000, I started dating Tommy Brown, who is by far the greatest turkey hunter that I know. Tommy is an extreme hunter, woodsman & naturalist, as well as a fine Southern Gentleman. When turkey season came around, he invited me to go turkey hunting with him. I was only a spectator but my first turkey hunting experience is still very vivid to me and one of my most cherished times in the woods. We went into the deep swamp before dawn and Tommy did a Barred Owl call & a gobbler gobbled right back at him. The turkey’s gobble, which I had never heard before, sounded like nearby thunder. We sat down on our stools and got into position. As Tommy was getting organized with his calls, I watched a baby squirrel playing 5 feet in front of me. I had the sense something was watching me and looked up into a tree about 10 feet to my right where I saw a Great Horned Owl staring at the baby squirrel. I sat extremely still with amazement. Then the owl soared down, grabbed the small squirrel with his talons took it back to the limb on which he had been perched and threw the squirrel back like a thirsty cowboy doing a shot of liquor in a saloon. The owl spun his head and peered at me like “You are next!” About the time the owl flew away, the gobbling started again, yet this time it was much closer and literally made the ground tremble! There he was, the most amazing bird I had ever seen with a brilliant red, white and blue head. And as I was admiring all his splendor as he strutted and gobbled out in front of us he quickly met his demise.
I WAS SOLD ON THIS TURKEY HUNTING THING!
Without ever shooting a gun, I felt as though I was obsessed with wild turkey hunting. A week later I started learning to shoot a shotgun with a turkey drawn on a piece of plywood in the yard. I bagged my first bird days later.
We hunt in the deep swamp surrounded by cypress and tupelo trees. And every spring I find myself venturing into areas that I cannot fathom that I am exploring. Tommy is an amazing hunter, more adventurous than I sometimes like, walking us a half a mile or more into what I feel confident is a moccasin-infested area. I pray along the way as I wear my snake boots asking the Lord to keep the serpents away from us & us out of all danger. Yet, each time I am always amazed at how beautiful the area in which he chooses for us to set up in is. Indeed, I have the greatest hunting guide and we cherish each hunt we share!
At age 3, I had a serious eye injury & the doctors said that I would probably loose sight in that eye. Today I am not sure which eye was injured. I give praise to God that I have 20/20 vision in both eyes. My eyesight is impeccable & very sharp, which can be a blessing and a curse turkey hunting!
I have harvested an average of one or two turkeys a year but I find that it is truly not about the kill, but about the hunt itself. Some of my most memorable hunts have been hunting without ever taking off my safety.
People have asked Tommy if he drugs me when we go hunting. I am ADHD & love talking with people. However, I like a good challenge and being still and quiet is among one of the greatest challenges for me! People often pick on me because I wear my pearl earrings hunting. Of course, I do! I was accidently wearing them when I harvested my first bird, so now they are a part of my turkey hunting attire!
I recall one Easter morning years ago we went hunting at dawn, we were working a gobbler who was tantalizing us to no avail. We certainly could not miss church on Easter Sunday & finally I whispered to Tommy “This turkey is dressed up as Satan, himself & we must leave now and get ready for church!” Needless to say, I was extremely disheveled in my Easter dress with sock lines around my ankles, a mask line embedded on my forehead, and my curly hair was ratty as ever!
A girls thoughts from 16 years of turkey hunting,….
Turkeys can literally rocket into the air from where they are standing, as well as soar through the sky like an eagle.
Hunting turkeys that have been trained by inexperienced turkey callers certainly adds to the hunting challenge.
I rarely hunt fields and I have never turkey hunted in a blind.
Turkeys have a built in GPS and hens are spies for gobblers.
I have been lost in the deep swamp alone.
I have learned that if you think you know what a turkey is going to do…
you are fooling yourself!
I have gone to the hunting club without my snake boots before dawn, but never without my Thermo Cell.
The kick of a shotgun has knocked me off my stool and into a mud puddle more than once.
I have pulled the trigger to shoot a bird only to realize I did not have a shell in my shotgun.
I have crawled on my belly a long distance to get closer to a bird.
I have tagged and released birds that brought me to my knees.
I have been covered in ticks, surrounded by wild hogs, crazy raccoons, families of opossums, and venomous snakes; however, when spring arrives, there is no place I would rather be than in the deep swamp turkey hunting.
By Carman Brown
For those of us who know Carman and Tommy Brown, they are an example of a true hunting couple. Carman can call like an owl better than an owl can! Besides being the amazing hunters that they are, they are conservationists and nature lovers. Hootie whoooo!!!