Jeanne Peebles-Spring Gobbler Season

Alabama’s turkey season began on March 15th and ended on April 30th. It was the quickest 6 weeks I have ever experienced. Prior to this year I could count on one hand the number of times I had been turkey hunting. Normally during turkey season you would find me in a boat doing some spring fresh water fishing.
In early 2013 we leased a new hunting property and was tickled to find out there were a number of turkey’s on the property. Now I just needed to learn how to call a turkey! The trials and error of calling were quite amusing in our household. On one particular day while trying so hard use a mouth call I finally told my husband I could not use it and I was throwing it away. He asked me to try again while he was there and proceeded to start laughing. I had the mouth call in backwards. Trial and error! I tried a number of different calls and settled on a slate call, a well used boxed call given to me by my Uncle Butch and some new mouth calls from Flextone. Practice, practice, practice. Any spare time was used to work on my calling even lunch hours at work.
I am ready!! Send in the gobblers! Photo: Jeanne Peebles

I am ready!! Send in the gobblers!
Photo: Jeanne Peebles

As opening day approached I started getting everything in order and packed in my Jeep. Gun patterned and ready. Decoy – check, turkey chair – check, vest – check, calls – check, Thermacell – CHECK!! As luck would have it the opening weekend of turkey season fell at a time when the company my husband, David, works for decided to start a shut down. This would mean he would probably miss most if not all of turkey season. He is not a huge turkey hunter but he was really excited for me and wanted so bad to help me in any way in could. I listened to what advice and tips he had for me and also grilled many friends and relatives.

Opening day the alarm went off at 3am. Up, dressed and headed out for a 2 hour drive to our lease. What an awesome day! At first light I had 2 gobble in response to my owl hoot. I tried to get to them but feel they were intercepted by the real thing because I never heard them again. After lunch I set up for the afternoon and called in 2 jakes. Was super excited but I choose not to shoot since it was my first day. Later in the afternoon I had 10-12 hens behind me sometimes as close as 10 ft. I honestly thought the sound of my heart beating out of my chest was going to scare them away but what a learning experience listening to them! Over the course of our 6 week season I was in the woods every weekend! I had several people that had much more experience than I did offer to come with me and call for me but I was set on doing this myself. Good or bad it was my season to learn! Even though I was hunting on my own with no company I had so much fun. I would sit and watch does and bucks eating then trying to figure out what I was and should I be there. I watched bees, squirrels, all sorts of birds including a hummingbird who would

Sagebrush Lizard or Komodo Dragon? You decide! Photo: Jeanne Peebles

Sagebrush Lizard or Komodo Dragon? You decide!
Photo: Jeanne Peebles

land and rest on my knee and of course a number of hens and a few more jakes. One afternoon I had a couple of hens behind me for close to 90 minutes and I would mimic the sounds they was making. What a better way to practice and perfect my calling! Mid season I did see a nice mature Tom but had no shot at him but truly enjoyed watching him strut his stuff through the brush. I had a few minor incidents involving nature which caused panic then hysterical laughter. The main one being when a Sagebrush lizard jumped from a pine tree onto my chest! Very glad there were no cameras around as I rolled out of my turkey chair onto the ground and proceeded to roll around with the lizard running all around my head and chest. It finally jumped from me onto a brush pile at which point I jumped up and very pointedly told him “permission was not granted for that”. I don’t think he cared. I told everyone a Komodo Dragon attacked me!

My last weekend came very quickly and I was staying up all weekend hunting from daylight to dark.

View from Jeanne's "office" Photo: Jeanne Peebles

View from Jeanne’s “office”
Photo: Jeanne Peebles

Saturday was not very productive other a few hens here and there and those 2 jakes which I saw almost every weekend. Sunday morning came and I headed down where I had last seen turkey the day before. By mid morning I was seeing hens but not much else. After lunch the 2 jakes were back. Several times over the course of a few hours I had each one in my sights but could not bring myself to pull the trigger. I had to leave that day by 3pm so the season ended with no turkey for me. As I was driving home and talking to my husband I told him I probably should have shot one of the jakes. His response was “No, follow your heart and have no regrets.” He reminded me of all the fun I had and lessons I learned. At that point I knew I had made the right decision. Now by no means am I saying shooting a jake is wrong. It was a personal choice for me in my maiden season and I feel good about the choice I made because I know next year they will be there and maybe, just maybe, I will have another shot at them. I have always told others that do not hunt that it is not always about the harvest but it is always about the hunt!

A huge thanks to my Father – Jackie Lott, Uncle – Butch Lott, Nancy Jo Adams and all my hunting friends for putting up with my incessant questions and for encouraging me to keep at it!

Leave a Reply