Turkey troubles

Published 12:44 pm Tuesday, April 12, 2022

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Seventy yards away, a bearded gobbler paced back and forth. The turkey seemed fixated on something across the road, but a fence blocked his path. Being a male during mating season, he forgot he could fly over the fence with ease. Logic tends to disappear during mating season of any species. 

             Logic is also hard to find among hunters during turkey season. Which is why I was seventy yards away from a turkey in a roadside field. I had crawled on my belly ninety yards to remain undetected by the pacing poultry. Every time the gobbler paced away from me I crawled forward, stopping when he turned around. 

            At seventy yards my progress slowed to make sure I didn’t scare the turkey. In a few minutes I would have a turkey in hand, or know the answer to an age old question: Why did the tasty bird cross the road?

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            A grown man crawling the length of a football field is evidence that hunters are crazy. Earlier in the morning I sat in the perfect spot to shoot a turkey. I made soft calls from my slate turkey call to mimic a hen turkey who wanted a companion. For two hours I called and waited with no response. 

            At that point I decided I would have better luck at Ingles. Leaving the property in my truck, I drove down the secondary road bordering the land.

            To my surprise, there was the previously mentioned gobbler pacing back and forth at the end of a line of trees, next to a wire fence, 8 yards from my passenger side window. 

            I drove away slowly in disgust for a quarter of a mile before I did a U-turn and decided to get this bird. 

            Hunters are a strange sort because we dream of taking game in a certain manner. With whitetail deer, it can be while the buck is eating acorns unaware of the hunter in the tree. For ducks, it is having them land in the decoys after expert calling. For turkeys, it is that a big gobbler comes strutting into your turkey call, gobbling its head off. 

             I didn’t want to just shoot a turkey, I wanted to do it the right way. So a drive by shooting on this gobbler was out of the question and highly illegal. 

             Which, again, is why I had crawled a football field length on my stomach to be seventy yards away from the bird. At forty five yards I could make an ethical shot. Slowly, I creeped closer. Then I heard a car coming down the road. 

              As the car approached the field the driver saw the turkey and slammed on the brakes. The turkey stopped its relentless pacing. The driver rolled his window down and said, “Hey look! It’s a turkey right next to the  road!”

             In that moment, the turkey regained clarity and realized it was in a dangerous situation. It turned around and ran into the woods. 

             As I lay face down in the red clay, the red sedan drives by without a care in the world. He doesn’t know that not only did he scare away the turkey, I also don’t know the answer to why it wanted to cross the road.