It’s im­por­tant to get the march­ing or­der right

The Woolwich Observer - - SPORTS -

THE OTHER DAY I went for a walk in a lo­cal wood­lot when a jake tur­key caught my at­ten­tion by trot­ting across a five-yard-wide open­ing. Just as his ink black body and bob­bing white head crossed my line of sight an­other tur­key broke cover and fol­lowed. Then came one more, an­other, and fi­nally the last.

In to­tal, five jakes had crossed within easy gun range.

This type of event is a long­stand­ing tra­di­tion for me every spring prior to the tur­key sea­son. It is so com­mon I have come to think of it as the March of the Teaser Birds and I cel­e­brate it each year by imag­in­ing what would have hap­pened if it was tur­key sea­son.

I’m not delu­sional how­ever. I know this is prob­a­bly the tur­keys’ way of mak­ing me feel worse be­cause it gen­er­ally hap­pens on prop­erty I don’t have hunt­ing ac­cess to.

Nev­er­the­less the ex­pe­ri­ence was not with­out value. There is al­ways some­thing to be learned from watch­ing na­ture.

In this case, I learned a thing or two about the laws of or­der.

Let me ex­plain. Imag­ine this was hunt­ing sea­son and I was watch­ing that open­ing with gun in hand.

For the first bird, things could have gone one of two ways. He could have ei­ther caused me to send out a hur­ried shot, which are of­ten the best be­cause in­stinct takes over, or he might have slipped by with­out be­ing shot at all.

The sec­ond bird would have def­i­nitely been at greater risk be­cause by the time he stepped into view I would have stopped fum­bling with my shot­gun, taken it off safety and it would have been al­ready point­ing in its gen­eral di­rec­tion.

The third bird would have been in the worst po­si­tion for two rea­sons. First, I would have been to­tally ready for it. Sec­ond, af­ter snap­ping off one or two hur­ried shots and miss­ing both pre­ced­ing birds, I would have fi­nally set­tled down for my third and fi­nal shot. This time I would have re­mem­bered to take my time and lead it.

And now we come to bird num­ber four, the smartest of them all. This is a bird that re­ally thought things through. He prob­a­bly knew that most tur­key guns only hold three shells at most. With this in mind, he most likely rea­soned that my gun would be empty by the time he, the fourth bird, left cover. And though the same thing ap­plies for bird five, bird four also had the good sense to re­al­ize that it is never smart to be the last bird in a line, since they are the ones a trail­ing preda­tor catches first.

If you think there is not much of a les­son here, it’s only be­cause you are not ap­ply­ing these prin­ci­ples to ev­ery­day life.

For in­stance, if there is a new truck stop on the high­way, it’s prob­a­bly not good to be first one who tries “The Spe­cial.” The sec­ond per­son might not do too well ei­ther, es­pe­cially if he or she was the guest of the first per­son. The third per­son might do bet­ter by sim­ply avoid­ing “The Spe­cial,” es­pe­cially if he or she had heard of the fate of the first two. The fourth per­son would cer­tainly just be or­der­ing a cof­fee and avoid­ing any is­sues al­to­gether, since, by the time he got there, word would have got­ten out to steer clear of “The Spe­cial.” And, OK, the fifth per­son would not even go there but might also get rear-ended as he’s chang­ing his mind on the high­way exit.

As you can see, there is a lot you can learn by watch­ing tur­keys. Last year I learned you should never an­swer strange calls.

[FILE PHOTO]

A mix of gravel roads, trails and hills has made the Cy­cle Water­loo event, one of the first of the sea­son, a pop­u­lar choice from cy­clists well be­yond the bor­ders of Water­loo Re­gion.

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