When God makes you fat, gives you a bright red hanging scrotum for a neck, sticks a large amount of thick plumage on your rear end, and bestows you with an echoing call that lets everyone know who you are, you better have something that gives you the edge over predators. And you my noble friend were blessed with a keen intellect. Here’s to you turkey, you Stephen Hawking of the woods.
I know what you’re going to say. "Intelligence? We sit down to eat thousands of turkeys every Thanksgiving, not to mention year round. How smart can they be?”
I hate to tell you this, but what you were eating, and what you are about to eat for Thanksgiving is not a real turkey. It is his dumber, domesticated, inbred cousin. They are the West Virginians of the turkey world. A real turkey would not let itself be served on your dinner table so easily. I know, for I have faced the beast, and heard his gobble…let me set a scene for you not too long ago…
It is a beautiful autumn day, the leaves are falling, the chipmunks are scurrying, the birds are chirping…and two hunters are walking through the woods with high powered rifles, hollow point bullets, full camouflage, and a death wish for any animal with an ounce of meat or a tail to claim.
Three hours of driving, close to an hour of hiking through dense woods, and another few hours of seeing nothing but sparrows, and you better bet we were determined to kill something. I swear, I’m not a murderous person, but if Bambi’s mother herself had shown up, I have no doubt we would have mowed her down in cold blood.
We finally decided to stop walking. We were positioned on a slight incline overlooking a dried up riverbed. We waited. I passed my time periodically examining the riverbed through the scope of my rifle. The other hunter spent his time examining various brochures about the county we were hunting in. It was the first time we were hunting in this part of Virginia, and our lack of knowledge would be our undoing.
I remember hearing the far off warbling of a turkey gobble. I sat up instantly, scanning the woods for the source. My hunting companion was also alert, but also strangely still engrossed in one of his brochures. It was then that I saw the source: not one, not two, but about a dozen turkeys walking in a line down the riverbed.
“Ohhhhhh,” I said quietly, and tried as hard as I could not to misfire. I leveled my scope and took aim at one of the brightly colored necks. How stupid of them I thought. A dozen turkeys walking single file, making enough noise to alert every hunter within a mile to their presence.
Before I could pull the trigger, my hunting friend killed my buzz. “It’s not turkey hunting season for two more weeks.” What? He pointed at the brochure. “In this county, turkey hunting season starts two weeks from now.”
Many thoughts passed through my head in a few, brief moments: The desire to pull the trigger. Fear of the game wardens that patrolled these areas at this time of year. Our own stupidity. And most of all the absolute genius of the turkeys still strutting less than 100 feet in front of us.
Those bastards, I thought. They knew it wasn’t hunting season. They decided to take the entire goddamn extended family out for a jaunt through the woods, just because they knew they couldn’t be touched. Gobble, gobble, gobble, two more weeks you stupid motherfuckers, gobble, gobble, gobble.
And so comes to end the tale of my experience with this shrewd bird. And so also comes to end my first post on this blog. Not much of an intro piece I know, but if you are interested in seeing the beginning, I’d suggest you mossy on over to The View From Dupont’s blog and along with reading her fine writing, check out my two posts. I may eventually crib pieces of those writings to form a more formal introduction for myself, but as of right now, I prefer to just jump in.