With only ten seconds remaining in the fourth quarter and our team covered up deep in turkey territory, we decided to throw a hail mary pass into the end zone desperately hoping for a score and a two point conversion. After covering nearly the entire northeastern portion of Wyoming by driving from Buffalo to Sheridan to Gillette to the National Grassland, back to Sheridan and finally back to Gillette, fighting howling winds and horizontal snow, we knew we needed something big if we were going to score a turkey by the end of our hunt. Our high and long pass started with us on the turkey’s 10 yard line and though we scored our touchdown and found turkeys on a lonely section of state land, this attempt merely tied up the game with the defensively strong turkey team. After a personal foul in an incident with a porcupine, I decided we would be better off to get back into the hunt first thing in the morning, taking the game into overtime and us back to Buffalo for the night.
In the first minute of overtime we were able to find a group of at least 40 turkeys on private land but after asking for permission and finding that these were the wife’s “pets” that she enjoyed feeding, we were down again. Turkeys score. We got the ball back (college rules) by gaining access to the land just behind the turkey feed lot, but with them not wanting to leave their roosting trees, free food, and each other to cross the creek to our decoys, it was turkey’s ball.
Team Turkey and their cheerleaders ruling the field.
We moved on to another area that looked promising and was once again granted permission to hunt the private section next to a public state section. This, however, also turned out to be fruitless, as the turkeys were wise to our plays and stayed on yet another inaccessible private section. When the clouds started rolling in with a rain/hail mix and the winds picking up gusts, we knew what team the fans were rooting for. We knew we had to pull the last rabbit out of the bottom of our trick hat if we were ever going to score against these birds. Knowing we couldn’t access the land they were on to the west but also knowing they were being fed to the east, we drew up a center sneak play. Within less than an hour of calling hen clucks and a few tom gobbles, we started getting a response and knew the game was turning to our favor. The fans in the stands began quieting down, getting nervous, and we got the break in the roaring weather we desperately needed. The ball was hiked and with a pass that seemed to have minutes of hang time, it landed comfortably into the hands of an open receiver deep in the end zone and a beautiful double-bearded tom was down on the ground, less than 40 yards from where I sat.
Team Hunter scores an overtime touchdown.
10 inch doubled-bearded tom
Overtime was nearing the end and there was no time for a single point field goal. We needed our two points. The last ball in the last minute of the last chance overtime was handed off and ran clean passed the white line, leaving the defense stunned and confused, and another tom flapping on the ground a far 52 yards from my hunting partner.
Two point converstion!!!
Knowing the game was over and we had won against the favored turkey team, we roared in victory. Our long drive back was filled with talks of plays that failed and ways to make others better when we meet against the turkeys in the playoffs to fill our second tag for the 2011 turkey season.