Outdoor Goals 2013 Recap…

Last year, I wrote a blog post listing my outdoor goals for the year of 2013. You can check out the list here. My list included five goals and I am proud to say that I achieved two of them. However, that obviously leaves me a lot of room for improvement in 2014.

I will be posting my outdoor goals for 2014 in the coming days, but wanted to take a few minutes and recap my goals for last year and how they went.

My first goal was also the goal I most wanted to achieve and that was to fill a spring turkey tag for the very first time. On opening day of the 2013 spring turkey in season, I managed to take a tom turkey from the Ohio woods and I couldn’t be more proud of that accomplishment. You can read the entire story of my spring turkey hunt here.

The second goal on my list was to catch and weigh a largemouth bass of over three pounds which would beat my personal best bass of all time. This goal was the one I suspected would be the most difficult as I have been bass fishing since I was young and had never topped the three pound mark. Well, at least not officially that is. There were several times that I believe I caught fish bigger than that, but I either failed to land those fish or didn’t have a scale with me at the time. Unfortunately, that makes those occasions nothing more than fish stories.

Anyways, as these things usually go, the goal I thought would be most difficult proved to be one of the easiest. It was also completely unexpected. I had just finished scouting my turkey hunting location and happened to have my fishing gear with me. It was an unusually warm spring day for Northern Ohio and I couldn’t resist wetting a line. Long story short (and you can read the full story here) I wound up hooking, landing, and weighing a 3+ pound bass on my first cast of the year.

The last three goals that I set for 2013 were much less successful. Unfortunately, I never even got a chance to really pursue them. Busy schedules and the unpredictable spring weather that is commonplace in Northern Ohio made a flathead fishing trip impossible to get planned and executed and a lack of equipment and the decision to not figuratively pull the trigger on an expensive purchase made a 2013 whitetail deer hunt out of the question.

The last goal that I set was to take a great outdoor picture. Although I had my camera with me just about every time I was out in the field in 2013, that great picture just never happened. However, I did still get a lot of great shots of fish I caught as well as those caught by friends and family. The more I think about it, maybe those pictures are even better than the great landscape shot that I was hoping to get.

Although I did not achieve all of my outdoor goals that I set for 2013, they still pushed me to be a better outdoorsman and to just appreciate having the freedom and opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors in all of their abundance and beauty with good friends and family along the way.

Here’s to another great year in the outdoors in 2014!

 

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Opening Day Tom…

This past Monday was opening day of spring turkey hunting season here in Ohio and the only place I could be found was out in the woods. I made plans to hunt with a good buddy of mine who is a great hunter and all around outdoorsman.

I am fortunate enough to have access to 250 acres of prime Medina County farm land for all my hunting trips and that was where we decided to hunt. The land does not get very much pressure and is filled with all kinds of game.

We got set-up in the field at about 5:30AM with the stars still visible in the sky and about 1 hour or so before legal shooting light. It was a chilly 38 degrees with expected highs near 65 later in the day. Luckily, we got a day with no real breeze to speak of.

We set up in a pop-up blind on a field filled with corn stubble from the previous year’s harvest with a woodlot to our backs. We set up two hen decoys and a full-strut tom decoy in front of us at about 15 yards.

Around 6 o’clock we started hearing our first gobbles of the spring. What sounded like a couple of different birds a couple of hundred yards back in the woods started lighting up on the roost. However, once they flew down, they promptly shut up and we assumed they had paired up with hens.

Things were pretty quiet for a while until about 7:30 AM when my buddy saw a gobbler running in and a hen creep out of the treeline. We thought that gobbler wasn’t going to stop until he gave us a clean shot, but for some reason, he hung up back behind our blind. The hen did come out into the field and fed for awhile but soon disappeared back into the woods.

Around 8:30 AM was when the real action started. Birds started gobbling their heads off way back in the woods again. As far as we could tell, about three different birds were gobbling about 200 yards into the woods near a creek bottom.

My buddy started hitting the call about a half hour later and those birds were calling back hard. After a few minutes a group of jakes worked their way into the field but they wouldn’t commit to the decoys. They fed for a while while always seeming to keep looking back into the woods.

Then at about 9:45 AM, they vanished back into the woods. Then almost out of nowhere, a longbeard emerged from the treeline on my right. He was looking for a fight and walked straight up to the full-strut tom decoy. Before he could start attacking the decoy I made my shot. It was a clean kill right at 15 yards.

My first ever turkey and it was a beauty and on opening day nonetheless. He weighed in right at 23 pounds. His beard went 11″ and his spurs were right at an inch. That puts him right around three years old.

All in all it was a great hunt with a good friend made even better given the fortune of finally being able to fill a turkey tag. It was a fun morning in the spring woods and I already can’t wait to do it again next time.

In a previous post, I listed my outdoor goals for this year. Filling a turkey tag was one of them and I’m glad to say that I already met that goal. Only four more to go!

Here are a couple pictures:

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