Anyone that knows me would not question my motives for hunting. I believe it is the ultimate sustainable, organic and free-range meat. Assuming that populations are healthy and it is done responsibly, I am absolutely in favor of shooting a wild turkey versus buying an animal that was bred with too-big breasts to walk and lived a short miserable life inside a dark box. However, with hunting, you have to be able to shoot the turkey first.
I blame the calendar. My friend swore that the turkeys that frequented his property would amicably wander around next to the barn and their cars while they conducted their daily lives. He said we could literally shoot from a rocking chair on the porch. However, I am convinced that someone slipped the turkeys a Blackberry or, at the least, a pocket calendar, because the turkeys had issued a red-alert for the day we went on their property.
Dressed for a 10 minute expedition, three not-so-mighty hunters snuck around the corner of the barn with all the stealth of an elephant. The flock activated the alarm and set off at a brisk run. But one turkey had a badly injured leg and hobbled in the back. Reasoning that he couldn’t make it through the winter injured, I took aim while the fiancee shouted a none too helpful, “take the shot, take the shot!”. Is this turkey sniper or what? He had also given me a helpful pep-talk on the ride over about not looking the turkey in the eye before I pulled the trigger. Flustered, I pulled the trigger and missed. By a lot, which is better than injuring but not killing the turkey. I tried to chamber another round but the shell jammed in the gun on ejection. Fantastic. By the time I nudged the shell out with my finger, the turkey had flown away.
Have you ever tried to chase a flying object? As a land-bound mammal, we are at a distinct disadvantage. The turkey crossed a ravine while the bipeds had to walk all the way around the ravine to get to the other side. By the time the bipeds were on the other side, the turkey just flew back to the original side. This was frustrating. So frustrating that us bidpeds decided to put our oversized brains into action. If one of us circled around the flock from the high side and pushed them towards the other two, we could probably have another try. I was lucky enough to be in the group waiting for the turkeys to come to me, which we did in enviable style.
It started with wanting a break from the wind. We walked around to the other side of the barn and somehow ended up sitting on a bench on a covered porch with hot chocolate in hand, thanks to Gina. This helped soften the blow that Gina delivered. She said that about 10 minutes after she heard the shot fired, the entire flock passed right in front of her living room window, “and the one with the bad leg was leading the pack!”. She expected to see us chasing after it, but we were probably crossing the ravine (again). Thanks Gina.
Turkeys: 1. Bipeds: 0. And I ate lamb for Thanksgiving.