Last year was my son's first hunting season, and the spring turkey hunt was his first opportunity as a recently licensed hunter. Last year went like you would script it if you were writing about how a turkey hunt would go if everything fell into place...he had a longbeard by 6:20 AM. Not so this year! Scouting Friday we encountered a little rain, a snow shower, some blue sky and plenty of wind. There was a lot of snow still on the ground- no big surprise there as we were in the Cle Elum area. There was plenty of bare ground, but it appeared that the cold temps have kept the bugs from coming to life (the hatch was off), so the birds in the area hadn't been digging for insects much. My hunch is that they're still wandering the forest in search of seeds and whatnot. Saw a small group of 5 birds on Friday, far up on a hillside, and couldn't tell if there were any jakes or gobblers. Saturday morning started hiking at 4:15 under clear skies and more stars than I've ever seen in my life. We were set up by 5 AM- had a good spot next to a nice clearing where we had seen some fresh scat the day before, didn't spook any roosted birds on our way in, so things looked to be as promising as possible. We were set up very close to where things went down last year, although our spot from last year was under a foot of snow still. As it became light we listened, hoping to hear a gobbler in his roost, or the flutter of wings as a group of birds descended from their roost. Nothing but quiet. And cold. The skies had cleared over night and in town it was 32. My hunch is that it was at least a couple degrees colder up where we were. As the "false dawn" hit, you could feel the "warmth" being sucked out of the air as the cold really set in. We were dressed for chilly spring temps, but that wasn't enough to be comfortable in this weather, and we both got uncomfortably cold (although I was the last to admit it). About 6:30 I gave a few lonesome hen yelps on my box call, just to announce that we were there. After ten minutes, we heard a hen call on the ridge above us- sounded a good ways off. Hope. I waited a couple minutes and gave a couple excited yelps and received more greetings from up on the ridge, a little closer this time. Then 2 short gobbles- not the roar of a red hot gobbler, but at least a gobble. More hope. I returned the gesture, and a hen called back a couple more times, so I felt sure they were coming in- I didn't want to overdo it so we sat quietly and waited. And shivered. After a half hour and no visitors to the decoys, I called again. No response. By this time we had to get up and move around to get the blood circulating, which we did- careful to watch the woods for stealthy visitors which did not materialize. We yelped a bit more, but ultimately the call was made: Time of death for turkey hunting: 9 AM. We were disappointed, but so cold that it was a bittersweet end to the morning. I told my son that for every day like he had last year, there would be many days like today, which makes you appreciate when it does go your way. Unfortunately we only had yesterday morning or we'd have gone back out this morning. However, I think it's just real early given the weather this year. I just hope things warm up a good deal between now and the 15th. Anyway, we had a good time together and kept it all in perspective. We did everything right, or so it seemed, but the birds just didn't come. Next time- there's always hope. Isn't that what keeps you going?