Tignall Turkey Trot, Part 1

Driving from Easton, Maryland to Tignall Georgia is a haul.  For my wife, Brenda, our two dogs, and me, the drive began as a three-week adventure to look at property, ride bikes, go fishing and hunt in our home state.   Because it rained during the final two hours of the drive, unloading the truck meant soggy gear and tracking Georgia red clay into my father-in-law’s lake house.

Gear and provisions included two bows, one gym bag of clothes, a tackle box of archery tools, another gym bag containing photography equipment, a bicycle, bicycle gear, running gear, and dog food.  Brenda’s provisions were contained in one carry-on style suitcase and an overnight bag.

We arrived in Georgia too late to check out our 679 acres (the Calloway Track) where we’d hunt turkey.  We’d get up bright and early the next day to survey potential sites from where to begin our hunt.

One of our less substantial stands
One of our more substantial stands

Bright and early meant up no later 9:00 am. Brenda and I were up at 5:00 AM and again at 6:30 AM. The Tignall homestead was filled with a crew for Easter and hunting.  Well, mostly for Easter, only Ray, my father-in-law, and I planned to hunt.  (Brenda, Ray and I also planned to fish) Among the entourage were:  My wife, her two brothers, Wade and Ron, two of our nephews, Drew and Colin, her dad, Ray and four dogs, River, Nixie, Penny and Molly.  Later that day, Heather, one of our daughters, her husband Bill and their son Sean would drive over from Athens.  The two nephews, both allergic to morning, rose sometime just before lunch. The exact time was undocumented because, Brenda, Ray, and Ron and I left to purchase more provisions.  Wade, who stayed behind, recorded no account of the awakening  event.

River, one dog that refuses to be left behind

For additional foodstuffs we drove to Elberton, GA and shopped at Ingles.  Grocery shopping at Ingle’s was a $210.00 affair, which made everyone hungry.  We were so hungry; in fact, we couldn’t make the return trip without stopping at ‘the’ restaurant in Tignall, The Kum Bak Café.

The Kum Bak Cafe in Tignall, GA

The Kum Bak Café will never be reviewed in “Fodor’s” but you can be assured of a belly full of gravy slathered chicken fried steak, hamburger steak plate, and decent sweet tea (served by the pitcher that remained on the table). Friday night fried catfish was on the menu. Kum Bak Café is basically a calorie oasis between Elberton and Lincolnton.

Inside the Kum Bak Café patrons, including our party, socialized in typical small town southern fashion.  Even though tables separated groups, conversation soon overlapped the room and included calls to and from the kitchen.  Food was ordered and served, sometimes incorrectly and plates were shifted from table to table, but eventually we were all eased of our hunger pains and could continue our drive in pursuit of turkey.

The good staff at Kum Bak Cafe
Getting served at the Kum Bak Cafe

The pursuit of wild turkey sent us back home to drop off groceries.  There we added another truck and Bad Boy Buggy, needed for the rugged terrain, to our turkey convoy. Before we could head to the woods, full from our meal at Kum Bak Café, we paused so our food could settle.  After we awoke from our digestive naps, took care of our biological needs, we finished loading one of two Bad Boy Buggies and headed to the hunting land about 15 miles away. The afternoon woodland adventurers were Ray, Wade and I.

One Bad Boy Buggy ready to go

As mentioned, it had been raining in Georgia. If you are familiar with Georgia you know about red clay.  Wet red clay is tough to drive on and the inexperienced can quickly find their vehicles sunk in the mess.  Once we reached the land and drove off the road we slid around a tad but neither truck was ever in danger of becoming trapped.

Unloading onto red clay

Over the next couple of hours we checked stands and the pig trap.  The recent rain, wetting the clay, recorded fresh deer and turkey tracks throughout the woods. While taking stock of fresh signs, Ray retrieved the memory cards from several trail cameras.  The Bad Boy Buggy, with is low torque handled the mud, wet red clay, and water without pause as it bounced us through the woods.

Bad Boy Buggy cutting through mud and water

As late afternoon approached we decided to head back to the trucks and trailers.  Tacos were on the menu for dinner and our Kum Bak Café lunch was long behind us.  Arriving at our vehicles, we loaded and headed back home, the thought of Mexican cuisine activating our salivary glands.

Fire ant mound – you don’t want to mess with these guys
Wade posing without his banjo (think Deliverance)
An empty wild pig trap

This first day of the turkey hunt we didn’t actually see any turkeys. We did see tracks and when we down loaded the trail camera, images verified the woods were filled with turkeys.  We’d be back for them very soon.  In the meantime, we spent time perfecting our turkey calling using a MAD Boom Box turkey call and shooting arrows around our outdoor range. There’s plenty of turkey in the woods, we’ll catch up them tomorrow. (The tacos were delicious)

The slide home to tacos