Turkey Watching – My New Pastime
April 19, 2016
Well, two weeks into the NC turkey season, and I’ve determined that I haven’t been turkey hunting at all. I’ve just been bird watching.
It’s not that turkeys aren’t entertaining. I had a great show last Monday morning, as a big, dominant tom spent the better part of an hour keeping another nice-sized suitor away from his harem. The interloper did what he could to slip around the edges, and finally did manage to slip off across the property line with one hen in tow. Shortly afterward, the big tom apparently noticed the elopement, and took off out of sight to make it right… leaving the whole harem there in the field in front of me.
After he was gone, the whole group wandered right up in front of the blind and lingered (malingered) within easy bow range. Yes, I did a lot of bird watching that morning… and the following three mornings as well… including Wednesday, when I set up in ambush at the little hole where they’ve been entering my pasture.
It was a perfect set up. The birds had just flown down, and were congregating in the cow pasture next to my place. The air was redolent of gentle clucks and purrs. The tom shuffled around behind them, dragging his wing tips and nudging the group across the open field. They were slowly making their way toward me, so I snuggled in amongst the cat claws and poison ivy shoots. I eased the Barnett up onto the shooting stick and prepared to nock a bolt.
Except the bow quiver wasn’t attached to the bow.
I’d taken it apart the night before in order to tighten up a rattling bracket. I could see myself removing the handy little quiver, and leaning it up against the door frame (where I couldn’t possibly forget it). I saw myself fixing the loose bracket, and even remember thinking, “I should probably go ahead and re-attach this thing while I’m thinking about it,” but then something else crossed my mind (squirrel!) and… well… there I was, all dressed up and nowhere to go.
Finally, the next morning I was back, with the bolts, and set up. I hadn’t seen or heard the birds yet, so i settled in and waited. Without a sound, a brown head poked through the brush less than five feet from me. I tried to freeze, but I blinked. She didn’t run away, she flushed like a damned grouse and flew away into the pines. I never even got to see the rest of the flock.
There’s still plenty of time, of course, and I’ll be back at it soon. Cardinals, wrens, crows, Canada geese, and turkeys… it’s not quite the equivalent of some birders’ life lists, but it’s mine.
Meanwhile, my damned, bloodthirsty brother stuck an arrow into a nice one over the weekend.