Turkey Hunting Excuses: A Primer

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Ladies and gentlemen, turkey season is here. Our quarry is a large, horny bird that flies awkwardly and has a brain the size of a walnut. He can’t smell well, doesn’t have thumbs and speaks very little English. He hasn’t mastered fire, isn’t on Facebook and lacks the technical capabilities to enrich uranium.

Given these natural advantages, you’d think our hunting success rate would be much higher. Yet more times than not, most of us will come home empty handed.

That’s right, folks, we’re being outwitted by poultry.

It’s the kind of thing that makes non-hunters wonder if we’re going to the woods or a really bad fashion show that starts unusually early in the morning. So in the interest of helping us all save face, I want to offer a few points you can use to explain why turkeys keep making us look like chumps, despite being as dumb as they are delicious.

  • The first reason is the nature of nature. Male turkeys (the ones we hunt) don’t like to put a lot of effort into dating and mating. Strutting and gobbling usually bring females to him. Calling is an attempt to either lure him away from a sure thing, or attract one of his less popular buddies.
  • Assuming our calling is good enough, we still have to contend with his eyesight. God may have given turkeys a permanent seat on nature’s short bus, but he also gave them the ability to see it coming from a mile away. One false move and he’ll run away without so much as a wave goodbye.
  • Turkeys are also temperamental. Some mornings, they won’t shut up. On others, they won’t make a sound. Occasionally they come running straight to you and sometimes they don’t move at all. And forget about sneaking up on one. They’ll see and hear you as soon as you have the thought.

There. Those are the simplest, most factual excuses I can think of to explain coming home bird-less. And I use them with every non-hunter in my life, except one. As far as my wife knows, the only reason I don’t kill a turkey every time I go is because I need a new gun.

Sure, one day she might call my bluff and I won’t be able to use that excuse anymore.  But I’ll have plenty of time to think of another one while I’m hunting . . . with my new shotgun.

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