On the way home from turkey hunting the other day, I compiled a list of excuses to explain the culprit behind a lackluster season so far. Before you shed a tear for me, I have killed a turkey this spring. However, it was one of those hunts that left me wanting more. My husband Wes and I plunked down against a tree, called and about five minutes later he marched up to our decoy, looked around and caught the number 6 copper-plated train to heaven.
Now I yearn for a floor show replete with strutting, gobbling, spitting and drumming. Though I’ve spent countless hours afield, I’ve been denied front row seats to a wild turkey cabaret. Here are 7 reasons why:
1) Wild turkeys are ill-mannered. On the roost, their gobbling rivals the incessant barking of neighborhood dogs. Toms seem to bellow out pickup lines such as “Roost here often, baby?” and “Your meadow or mine?” Once off the roost, the pillow talk comes to a screeching halt. Wes and I dash off to where we think they might want to go, mindful of obstacles such as swamps, creeks, thickets and our middle-aged legs. We guess wrong. Nothing and nobody shows up. The only noise we hear is from doves, bobwhites and songbirds. And it sounds like laughter.
2) Turkey hunting is hard work. I had a friend say that to me once, and I scoffed at such a ridiculous notion. Well, as the years add up, getting up in the middle of the night for a week straight can wear you out. While eating turkey is known to make people sleepy, hunting them can make you comatose. Those first rays of sunshine can knock me out harder than a hot bath, smooth jazz and Chamomile tea. Bottom line, you can’t fill a tag dreaming about turkeys.
3) Even when I’m awake I’m easily distracted, especially by other birds. I’m mesmerized by whippoorwills. Bewitched by barred owls. The other day I heard a red-tailed hawk scream as it soared by, and for some reason it made me say “Wes, wouldn’t it be cool if birds were big enough they could swoop down and pick up a person?” Of course, Wes thought that was absurd, yet launched into a SNL-style skit of how people would have to scurry across the mall parking lot with guns aimed skyward to fend off attacks. While the topics of these strange exchanges vary, the end result is always the same…somebody winds up laughing out loud, and that rarely qualifies as good turkey hunting technique (except one time in New Mexico, I did make a turkey shock gobble with my hooting and snorting).
4) I’m experimenting with different progressive contact lens prescriptions, which means my ability to see far, near and in between varies. OK, this is a lame excuse since I’ve only seen one turkey.
5) We’re hunting a new tract so we’re learning the lay of the land. This is a legit excuse, at least for this year.
6) Wes has already killed a monster bird, and I think it injured my psyche, especially since he texted me the photo while I was out of town at a meeting.
7) Brood surveys have shown poor reproduction in South Carolina during the last couple of years, and the DNR’s biologist predicted only fair turkey hunting this spring. I think it’s terribly UNfair, but it does make for one heck of an excuse.
The good news is there are two weeks left in the season. Plus, I have not been kidnapped by gypsies and I don’t have a dog, so my box call is safe and sound.
How is your season going? Leave a comment here, catch up with me on at Facebook.com/tammy.sapp2 or email me at email@example.com. I’d love to hear from you.