Dogwoods By the Daybreak: A Turkey Looking Story

Amid a few of life’s greatest heartaches and questions, turkeys nonetheless strut within the spring.

You’re snakebit on turkey this season. It’s been one unlucky sequence of dumb errors after one other to the purpose that you’re realizing simply how a lot of a waste of time and psychological power turkey looking is, made worse by this 12 months’s bumper crop of ticks.

Let’s be clear. It’s your fault. It’s not that you simply hate turkey looking. In truth, simply the other. You adore it. However you don’t have a superb cause for loving it, and it usually causes issues in different elements of your life. It’s a blurred line of emotion, actually. And also you perceive this runs parallel with dependancy.

Stumbling via the home at 3:15 a.m., you handle to get up not solely the infant but in addition your spouse and three canines, which pontificate in concord as you make your solution to the truck to waste yet one more day chasing a 23-pound dinosaur — look intently at their ft and inform me I’m flawed — via the woods.

As of late, it’s laborious for each you and the turkey. For the turkey, as a result of their species is in decline and you’ve got numerous folks racing to the woods attempting to kill them every spring.

You, since you’re getting older, and when that occurs, your knees groan leaping that fence — and also you get calls mid-hunt out of your buddy Ed saying issues like, “I’m sorry to be the one to inform you, however James killed himself final night time.”

So, I assume you could possibly say we’re each in decline.

A Strutting Gobbler Is the Mr. Bean of the Woods

(Picture/Michael Tatman)

They’re idiotic, however one way or the other they all the time come out on high in some implausible, quasi-comical means. Frankly, I don’t understand how they survived the final ice age with their stupidity. However then, how sensible are you able to be for sitting underneath a tree poorly imitating their mating calls?

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The climate must be higher on at this time’s hunt, however this morning you’re so sick with meals poisoning that you simply really turned the truck round twice en path to the farm. Sitting on the offramp, you bear in mind you possibly can’t catch fish in case your line’s not within the water.

And also you definitely can’t kill turkey if you happen to resolve that entry to a bathroom for puking is extra necessary than feebly operating a name as you attempt to not cross out from the lack of fluids in your physique.

So that you throw the shifter again in D, which at this time stands for “despair,” and head towards turkey looking mediocrity.

Ultimately, You Make It

You place the truck in park, seize your gear, throw up on the gate submit, and hop the fence to your spot.

Working throughout the sphere, a blooming dogwood illuminates the treeline via an early morning haze and it provides you pause. Round right here, it’s a primary bloomer and its harmless, sensible white reminds you that winter — and the darkness — is coming to an finish.

These petals appear to be stars bleeding over the sting of the sphere, and also you suppose how magnificence is one way or the other all the time extra lovely when it’s sudden or comes from some hidden place. This conclusion might be heightened by your slight sickness-induced hallucinations.

You proceed strolling to your spot and take into consideration James, questioning how he would’ve described that tree. He was a greater wordsmith than you’re. You additionally take into consideration how he was your finest good friend, and also you in all probability ought to’ve referred to as him that night time and requested if he wished to return turkey looking with you the subsequent morning.

You had the rattling cellphone in your hand, however you have been mad at him about one thing, which in hindsight appears so trivial.

Within the darkness, it’s tough to make sense of issues and even at 37, it may be unnerving. However there’s a distinction between being petrified of the darkish and being afraid of the night time. James will need to have been afraid of the night time, and I want I might’ve identified that.

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Then, there are these moments of close to understanding with turkey looking. When the solar breaks the clouds and the morning frost begins to soften off your gun barrel. You shut your eyes so one sense can’t rob the opposite, and also you let the heat wash over you with an unabashed kindness — and also you suppose issues will work out, even when it’s only for a second.

Success in Turkey Looking Is Fleeting and Doesn’t At all times Monitor

turkey hunting story
(Picture/P. Kasitat)

It’s bizarre. Generally success doesn’t take the costliest decoys in the marketplace, a Lynch World Champion field name (additionally costly), or the witchcraft-like two-way blind (additionally very costly).

Generally, all it takes is a cattle fence separating two Toms attempting to battle each other and the tunnel imaginative and prescient they’ve, which lets you stomach crawl in shut sufficient to pop up and pull the set off. The precise fowl drops stone useless because of these new TSS shells you purchased.

And identical to that, he’s gone.

The opposite fowl stands there visibly confused and wonders what the hell occurred. Why he’s there, and the opposite fowl is abruptly mendacity useless on the opposite aspect of the fence. Did that battle have one thing to do with it or was it simply coincidence? Should’ve been coincidence, proper?

You are taking your customary pictures with out a lot fanfare and file this fowl away as one other reminiscence in a protracted line of looking experiences. The whole lot of the season’s troubles are instantly forgotten, however the reminiscence of it nonetheless crawls on you with the ticks.

Birds begin showing all over the place, parading round like they personal the place, figuring out your tag is stuffed. After all.

Later that night time, cradling the bathroom nonetheless sick, all you wish to do is relive the second earlier than you pull the set off, not the second after. That is totally different than different sport and also you don’t know why. It appears such a waste, regardless that you wholly understand it isn’t.

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It is vital.

However with three gallon-size ziplock baggage of turkey meat within the freezer, you additionally know the time you could possibly have spent along with your spouse and new daughter was necessary. That’s what bothers you.

It’s all the time the belongings you didn’t try this hassle you greater than the belongings you did.

Ought to You Really feel Proud You Outsmarted a Chicken That Can’t Determine Out What a Fence Is?

turkey hunting story
A turkey struts beneath a blooming dogwood; (picture/Malachi Jacobs)

An outdated quail hunter as soon as mentioned, “My concept of heaven is looking quail over my two outdated pointers who’ve lengthy since handed away, taking pictures a double on the rise, then strolling over, choosing these little birds up, respiratory life again into them, and watching them fly away.”

You want you could possibly try this with the turkey. Breathe life again into him and provides him the prospect to battle one other day. Perhaps he wouldn’t should battle. Perhaps he might simply have a look at the dogwoods or take pleasure in a second of heat on a chilly morning.

However you possibly can’t. Nobody can. He’s gone.

You resolve life is each lovely and oftentimes tough. For some, it’s extra the latter than the previous. But, the dawn has by no means didn’t convey us a brand new day. So, we are able to query our actions — or extra importantly, our lack of motion.

You need to resolve every morning the way you’re going to go about that day’s hunt and hope you’ll make the correct selection, however you’ll by no means actually know.

It’s the burden and blessing of the residing. How are you supposed to try this, each single day, for the remainder of your life? You look over at your child daughter and she or he smiles.

You smile again and finish the story.


If you understand anybody battling psychological well being, please attain out to them. If you’re struggling, please name the Nationwide Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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