The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Outdoors

May 17, 2014

Turkeys are getting last laugh

Being the head of a household is hard enough, but having every occupant of the house thinking you’re nuts makes things even harder.

Getting up in the middle of the night to stumble around the woods in search of a turkey, only to return again and again with nothing but wet clothes and muddy boots, is taking its toll. Let’s just say I’m getting some looks at the dinner table and my sanity is beginning to be a topic of discussion.

To make matters worse, I opted for the enthusiasm and energy of my 12-year-old son as a hunting partner one perfectly good sleeping-in Saturday. We went turkey hunting. We heard and saw no turkeys. He was not impressed, and the mumblings continue about Dad’s obsession with a bird that sometimes, supposedly gobbles.

The topic of my non-successful turkey season thus far seems to have migrated out of the house as well. People who normally don’t start conversations with me are now walking up to me in the grocery line or at the gas station and are very inquisitive as to how my season is going. Sure, they know someone or they have a cousin who went last Wednesday and heard 17 before eight o’clock and punched his tag and was at the coffee shop eating doughnuts by nine.

There are lots of success stories after three weeks of turkey season have passed. I am not so fortunate.  

And then there is the social media world. As part of being a professional communicator in the outdoor industry, I am expected to log in to the social media sites on occasion to converse with the brethren. It is not healthy. After scrolling through 197 pictures of successful turkey hunters’ pictures, and giggly comments about what a wonderful and splendid season they are experiencing, and how next season they are switching over to primitive archery equipment for a challenge, my head begins to feel hot and I have to go lie down until it passes. Not to mention the dings and whistles of text messages and e-mails that find their way to me sharing the great news about the 30-pounder they just called in for their ex brother-in-law who is in visiting from Milwaukee and wanted to give turkey hunting a whirl.   

On the upside, the season in West Virginia is in through May 24 and I still have a few more days to hunt him. By now, most well-balanced people have either tagged out or decided to join the rest of the normal world leaving me plenty of good places to hunt all to myself.  Finding an accomplice willing to make a run at it the last few days might be a little tricky, but I am perfectly capable and can handle the humiliation mountain turkeys hand out on my own just fine. Besides my performance as of late in the turkey woods is not fit for the viewing of others, and is probably best left between me and my feathered adversaries.     

So this week if you happen to run into me and I look well-rested, I’ve finally punched out. But if I look tired and like I could use a nap, please do me a favor and don’t bring up turkey hunting in our conversation.

I’m not sure I can handle much more.

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