I have been turkey hunting since I was 13. And before that, I went with my dad when I was as young as 6. We’d wake up at 4 a.m., ride out to the edge of a field way out of town, and then we’d march across an open field and slip into the tree line. There we’d sit for what seemed like days waiting, calling, watching. Sometimes it would rain. A couple of times it snowed. But we’d sit there and wait.
I loved it. But in a lot of ways, I hated it.
I love it because I loved hunting. The planning and preparation was always fun. And the art of luring in a big gobbler is a major challenge. When you first start calling, they can be anywhere–just a faint squawk in the distance. But slowly they get closer and closer. And to see one strutting just a few yards in front of you is a sight to behold.
But I hate turkeys.
I don’t like to eat them. I don’ like to clean them. I don’t like the way they look. I don’t enjoy the sounds they make.
A male turkey is like that cocky jerk you went to high school with. Always making a fuss. Always strutting around and trying to make you look stupid in front of the girls. On a side note, if you can’t think of that guy from your high school, you were him.
The turkey just isn’t much to look at. Even in flight they look like they just don’t belong on this planet. With all the red bumps and flaps of skin hanging off their beaks. And what other bird that you know of has an eight inch tuft of hair growing out of the middle of their chest? And can you believe that Ben Franklin wanted the turkey to be the symbol of America over the bald eagle? Are you kidding me?
I still turkey hunt. I get up early. I sit in the rain and call. I set out decoys. I even keep a shell in the shotgun. But I haven’t shouldered a rifle on a turkey in 10 or 15 years. I see how close I can get one called in. Then when I’m tired of looking at them, I get up and walk back to the truck.
I stick with ham at Thanksgiving (or a steak if I’m selecting the menu). I opt for roast beef at the sub sandwich shop.
I just don’t like turkeys. But hunting them sure beats sitting in the house all day.