Mark Leopold's Perfect Day
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THE PERFECT OPENING DAY

By Henrietta Yelps

(From internet Spring '98 Issue)


Many folks know Mark Leopold as a conscientious sportsman who does the right thing afield. His deliberate approach to hunting and fishing often yields great successes. In the Winter of '98, mark expressed a desire to accept the challenge of the Eastern turkeys that inhabitat his 100 acre farmland.

Realizing that "one does not just go out and hunt turkeys", Mark studied everything he could about the birds and how to hunt them. Obtaining the equipment was easy. His father, who passed away several years ago, was an ardent turkey hunter. Mark held onto the gear figuring that one day he just may need it.

As opening day approached, Mark was ready. In his stand at 5:00AM, Mark was ready to re-enact all the stories he had read and that his father had told him about. Everything was set except that no turkeys were vocal on the may first morning. Mark began to doubt whether he should have taken the day off from work. But he stayed afield, persistance being one of his trademarks.

Mark sat poised with his vintage 1968 Winchester "1200" loaded with copper plated #5's. His Dad's Lynch's "Champion" box call rang out across the misty field. At 7:55, his efforts seemed to pay off as a hen and a jake investigated the yelps, but came no closer than 60 yards.

The two birds had disappeared and Mark was alone again to reflect on his strategies. In an effort to head off the birds, he moved to an adjouning field a few hundred yards away. His decoy was set in the field and the birds showed again! This time the jake was more interested and moved in to the decoy. In fact, Mark was "caught off guard" by the rapid approach and couldn't use his call to seal the deal. By now, the jake was sensing something was up and halted his progress. Mark improvised by gently tapping the box call with his butt of the gun. It was just enough to convince the jake and he struttted and approached the decoy.

The time was now 9:35 AM and all was looking good until the decoy fell over! At first, Mark figured that the show was over, but the jake moved right on in and thats when the trusty Winchester rang out and hit it's target - a handsome gobbler with a 5 inch beard!

Naturally, Mark was elated to bag this bird. The hunt was perfect... His equipment had not failed, his instincts were true, his heart was racing a mile a minute... It doesn't get any better than this!

As he approached the downed bird, Mark raised the turkey to the heavens and as a tribute to his father exclaimed 'Dad, if you are watching this this... Give me a sign!" Just then, from the nearby thruway, a semi horn blasted out an elongated note. Maybe Mark wasn't alone afterall.

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