IN THE WORDS of Meat Loaf: “Two out of three ain’t bad.” In my words, one out of two ain’t bad. Don’t know what Meat Loaf would say about my words, but I’ll stand by ’em.

After a highly successful turkey hunt here in April, with a beautiful gobbler to show for it, I headed south last week to Thorp for a season four, zone four hunt.

In the interests of COVID-19 safety, I drove straight to my brother’s cabin on the north side of Mead Lake and visited only with my two Birkebeiner skiing friends who each own large pieces of property in the area. On those visits we observed more than ample social distancing.

My first visit was with Mitch and Cindy Eichman. Their property is about 270 acres in size. On separate ATVs, I followed Mitch on a trip of exploration Thursday afternoon. I got a good lay-of-the-land tour and inspected the pop-up blind he had set up for me. Jim Gulzynski and I observed the same protocol later as he took me around to several of his land parcels.

Ready for action, I headed for Mitch’s place at 4 a.m. Friday morning. What an eventful and entertaining morning it was. It was cold and windy, darn cold. A bit before shooting time began, I had a decoy out at the edge of a pine plantation and was settled on a comfy chair in the blind. Ten minutes later, I saw my first turkey.

Actually, I only saw its dark head bobbing through the brush about 50 yards into the hardwoods stand I was facing; no idea if it was a gobbler or hen. A half-hour later, I had my first bird in close. A hen, she checked out the decoy and hung around within 20 yards for a good 15 minutes. It wouldn’t be the last I saw of her.

Shortly afterward, she was back. More inspection of the decoy, all the while uttering softer purrs than I have ever been able to make on mouth or box call. Ten minutes later, I caught another bird out of the corner of my eye coming from a marshy bottom behind me.

Adrenaline popped quickly, only to be dashed when I found it to be another hen. She was highly entertaining as well, but what I was hoping for was Mr. Big Boy following her in.

A bit after she left, the boy showed up, only he wasn’t Mr. Big. He was a handsome jake with a short beard and inquisitive nature. He hopped up on a dead oak limb which bowed up about 2 feet above the ground. There he sat, peering into the woods all around him looking for that hen he had been hearing for some time. That “hen” was at the time sitting motionless and unobserved in the blind.

He could easily have been my second bird of the season, standing in plain sight 20 yards away, but I decided to forgo the bird in hand in hopes of a mature gobbler in the bush.

He left, but it wasn’t the last I saw of him either. Half an hour later, he was back, this time walking past me and a few yards into the woods where a giant dead popple had crashed into another tree and was hung up slantwise.

He hopped on the popple about 6 feet up, then walked back and forth muttering to himself while constantly looking for a hen waiting for a handsome young suitor. Maybe, I thought, he also was keeping a lookout for a big gobbler that might come along to run him off.

At any rate, he provided rich entertainment for a while before he hopped down and slowly worked off into the bush. He would be the last turkey I would see that day or the next.

I tried Jim’s property in the afternoon and discovered I was becoming quite the expert with my mouth call; just not for turkeys. Set up on the edge of a recently seeded field, I proceeded to call in, in order, a pair of Canada geese and later, a beautiful sandhill crane, all of which paraded for some time within 30 yards of me. Turkeys, unfortunately, weren’t enamored in the least with my calling.

In the end I came home with no gobbler. It could have been a jake in hand, but I didn’t feel bad at all that I had let the young guy go. Maybe he’ll come to visit the blind again next year when he’s all “growed” up.

Aside from the birds, there was much to be enjoyed on this turkey hunt. Trilliums by the thousands were in full bloom. Same for marsh marigolds and at least three different-colored types of wood violets. Grouse drummed morning and evening wherever I set up.

Popple trees were wearing a new coat of dainty pastel green leaves. Other species of trees were either budding or just starting to pop with leaves. The smell of freshly turned earth rose up from every farm field.

Not the least of my pleasures was a pound of boneless rib-eye steak, pan-fried in butter Friday evening. That was followed by a single dollop of Crown, which worked wonderfully as a sleep aid after a day which began at the aforementioned ungodly hour of 4 a.m.

For me, three days were composed of peace and quiet at the cabin, the beauty of spring flowers, of sharing the woods with wild critters and as much as anything, just being alone in a good place with the current woes of the world pushed almost entirely out of my mind.