By Mitch Howard
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
I’m glad it is turkey season, so that I finally have something to write about.
First let’s clarify what is meant by turkey season. Turkey is singular, as in one turkey. That seems to be all that was in the woods during last weekend’s youth opener.
The first day Maggie and I overslept. If there were turkeys in Cold Hill, they had already clocked out by the time we clocked in. We stopped several places and called with no response. I hadn’t felt that alone since my first high school dance. In both cases, all you can do is regroup and say tomorrow is another day.
We got up early Sunday and took some real turkey hunters this time. It never hurts to have a good wing man. We were so determined I didn’t stop for a Hardee’s biscuit. This was a first for me. I estimated my body had about two hours of reserve fuel without a biscuit.
We stopped at every turn off, turnout, and wide spot in the road. We used mouth calls, box calls, and crow calls. We scratched on the ground like hens and beat our legs with feathers to simulate a turkey flying down from the roost.
And if that wasn’t enough, we split up and talked to each other in turkey language. One would use the various purrs, yelps, and clucks of the hen, which was like saying I’m the most beautiful turkey in the world and I’m looking for a good time.
Then the other would answer in gobbler speak, saying something that translated into, “boom chicka wow wow.”
The purpose is to trick some desperate Tom into thinking he can slip in ahead of the other gobbler. Despite our best efforts, I heard just one gobble. It was so distant and muffled it may have been an attempt by life from another planet to respond to our calls.
The highlight of the weekend was when Maggie decided to practice shooting her crossbow. It was no challenge for her to shoot the target in the body, so she upped the stakes. We walked off 20 yards and she said she wanted to see if she could hit it in the head. This is a full-sized target that is staked into the ground. The head and body are made of hard foam that is heavy enough that you have to put a foot on the target and pull with both hands to remove an arrow.
Maggie took aim, flipped off the safety, and fired with confidence. The arrow planted itself in the middle of the turkey target’s head, which was ripped from its body. The head must have flown six feet before rolling to a stop still impaled on the arrow.
I said “Oh my gosh” 47 times and then took a picture.
The hunt wasn’t successful, but a good time was had by all. Well, except the turkey head which remains a turkey kabob.