Guiding the Guides
Brenda Potterfield with a prized Ocellated turkey. (Photo courtesy MidwayUSA)
Brenda has a great passion for turkey hunting – far greater than mine – and she was the one that came up with the idea of hunting the Ocellated turkey. This is the turkey that lives down in the area of the Yucatan Peninsula of old Mexico.
For her, it was part of a collection of turkeys she wanted to complete. For me, it was just the love of hunting – new places, new game, new people and new customs.
It’s interesting to think how the Mayan people must have related to this turkey, during the time they were building what we now call the Mayan ruins, some of which we visited after the hunt; they were only a short drive away. The jungle is very thick there and likely there are some ruins deep in the brush that have not yet been discovered.
These turkeys don’t compare with the Eastern turkey that we hunt in Missouri. They’re quite a bit smaller, don’t gobble and they don’t respond to calls. They look like first cousins to a peacock and are stunningly beautiful, especially when mounted in a strutting pose.
Hunting these birds was from makeshift blinds, over shelled corn thrown out on the roads and trails, or near water holes in the afternoon where the birds came to drink.
Potterfield shows off an Ocellated turkey he harvested at the Yucatan Peninsula
of old Mexico. (Photo courtesy MidwayUSA)
Everything was routine, except for Brenda’s second turkey. We were set up a few hundred yards apart watching separate water holes, when I heard her shoot. As it was about time to stop hunting for the day and Brenda’s hunting location was on the way out, so we pulled up and walked on over to hear the story.
She had taken the shot across water, but the turkey flew away. The guides were just going to go after another bird when I suggested that we take a look for feathers where the bird was standing. We saw some evidence that it had been hit, at which time the guides pointed in the direction the bird had flown. So we lined up in pheasant-drive formation and proceeded forward. We flushed the bird about 100 yards out, and I got off the only shot, missing him as he flew back in the direction from which we had just come. We did an about face and this time Brenda spotted him on the ground and shot him before he took to the air.
Sometimes you have to guide the guides.