The Woolwich Observer

The hardest part of turkey hunting

- STEVE GALEA Not-So-Great Outdoorsma­n

Alot of people will tell you that the most difficult game animal to hunt in North America is the wild turkey. My answer to that is yes, but not for the reasons you suspect.

Sure, they are sometimes a difficult animal to hunt due to their caginess. But are they overly intelligen­t? Not really. In fact, I would say the average turkey is not much more intelligen­t than the average turkey hunter. Which, if my friends and I are any indication, is not very compliment­ary to the bird.

What makes turkey hunting so difficult is not the bird. It is that, in most cases, a hunter has to convince a landowner to allow turkey hunting on the property.

This is not as easy as it sounds. In fact, I would say it is the most difficult part of turkey hunting.

Mostly because you convince the landowner that you are not crazy.

This is not a simple task with the evidence on hand. For what you are telling the landowner is that you paid $26.33 for a licence that allows you to have a fleeting opportunit­y to shoot a bird that you could buy in a store for $26.32. But only if you wake up in the middle of the night to prepare yourself for the hunt, then drive to the property, trek into the field long before sunrise, sit with your butt on the cold ground, and spend your time wondering what big animal is crunching leaves and growling behind you in the dark. And all this while you are shivering until the day heats up enough for the black flies and mosquitoes to wake up so they can dine on you for breakfast. Which is something you skipped to be there on time.

Sometime after that, the landowner might ask, “Did a wild turkey hurt you when you were a child?

And you’ll reply, “No, they are my favourite bird.”

Then, if they delve into the matter further, you will probably end up communicat­ing that you will be carrying several very-expensive anatomical­ly correct rubber turkeys, all of which you have named and are quite fond of. Also, that you have spent the last month practicing with various turkey calls so that you are now convinced you can have a serious and meaningful conversati­on with any wild turkey on the property – although the same level of communicat­ion cannot be attained with your spouse anymore.

This will typically prompt the landowner to ask: “And you are carrying a shotgun or bow?”

To which you will then say, “Yes.”And then, mistaking the question for real interest, you will probably go into far too much detail about your shotgun and how you patterned it so that no turkey that shows within 40 yards will escape.

To which, the landowner might ask,” So, you never miss?”

Which is when you must artfully change the subject.

Eventually, the landowner might query you why you wouldn’t just buy a bird at the grocery store. To which you will probably reply, “I bought my licence ($26.33), shotgun ($1,000), decoys ($150), calls ($60), shells ($30), and turkey hunting vest, boots, and face mask ($300), so I can get a bird for free every spring.”

After that, all you can do is hold your breath and hope that you have made the case that you are not crazy – which would have been a whole lot easier had you not introduced him to your favourite decoy.

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