My eyes won’t stop watering. It’s the lack of sleep. Three a.m. wake-ups are by far the biggest drawback to turkey hunting.
To stop the spigot, I close my eyes. Surely I’ll hear a gobbler if he lets loose. To make sure, I take an auditory inventory. I start with the close sounds first – the buzz of the mosquitoes, the warblers and wrens, breeze through the trees. Now I expand – vehicle hum of a far-away road. Maybe a dog bark, way off? Maybe.
And then, seemingly from within my head, a “Bum. Bum, bum. Bumbumbumbumbumbum.” Sort of like a lawnmower starting. Then it’s gone.
It’s a male ruffed grouse, somewhere within a quarter mile of the pine tree I’m nestled up against. He’s drumming, which is his way of marking out his spring breeding territory.
I’ve been told drumming creates a mini sonic boom. It might. For me, it creates hope.