Last week, this column related the events of the first morning's turkey hunt and the initial minutes of the second morning's during the New York State Outdoor Writers Association's (www.nysowa.org) Annual Safari, held in St. Lawrence County and based at Basswood Lodge and Hunting Preserve (www.basswoodhunting.com) near Rensselaer Falls. That column ended just after I'd experienced a misfire of a new shotgun shell while a gobbler was a mere 10 yards away. But that was just the beginning of what would be a memorable morning in the turkey woods and fields.
I'll not relate what I said immediately after retrieving the shell that misfired, but it wasn't kind to the shell manufacturer, who will remain anonymous, at least for now. Accompanying hunters Bryan Noble, Jim Rheome and Leo Maloney were understandably sympathetic, but I also noted each was suppressing the urge to laugh. I had to smile myself when I thought of the ringside seat they had of the whole scenario. Oh well, strange things happen when hunting or fishing, and this was just another page that would fall under the Murphy's Law section.
Since there was another tom farther from the field that had been gobbling, we decided to head in that direction and see what we could do with it. We left the field and Bryan began to lead us through the woods toward the location we'd last heard gobbling from. Winding our way through the dense mixture of balsam and hemlock, we came to a huge hollow log that partially blocked our way. Bryan was first to step over it, but stopped after he had and looked down at something.
"Take a look," he said. We did, and there in the moist mud was a maize of coyote tracks. There were two small cracks about a foot long and two inches wide in the log next to all the tracks. We could see several pairs of eyes and small noses peeking out at us ... coyote pups. I moved down to the end of the log, which was also hollow and open, bent down and peered in. There, about eight feet away, were at least four pups. They immediately scurried toward the far end of their hollow wooden den. "Good thing their mom didn't see you," Bryan chuckled. "She might have taken a bite out of your britches." We laughed and continued on.