RALPH BARTHOLDT: Bust out the copper pot; it’s almost turkey season

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I知 getting ready for the spring turkey season and this time, I知 really going.

It痴 been several years since I sat against a tree like in the movies, or the drawings in the sporting magazines. A gun teetering on a knee as its barrel points in the general direction of a decoy while a snivelly snowfall whitens the ground.

Not everyone does it this way, but I am going to.

There was an attorney I know who told me he was traveling to town when he spotted a gaggle of turkeys a couple jacks, some hens and a tom all fluffed and ugly-wattled in a gravel pit. The opportunity was too much for the attorney, who stopped his car and gestured the universal 都hhh to his wife with a finger across his lips.

He climbed out, opened the trunk of the family car, removed his scattergun and then snuck up over the berm of the pit where the birds had gone. He shot the tom as it fanned its tail and dragged its wings, showing off, as it were, in an effort to make good with a hen.

The attorney carried the bird back to the car, closed the trunk and continued to the mall making good, as it were, with his wife, except now the turkey tag in his wallet had been filled.

Back then, you were allowed to harvest just one bird, and he had done it in a button-up shirt and Sunday shoes.

In those days, sportsmen pressed the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to open the turkey hunt a few weeks earlier when the toms were gobbling. Biologists replied, toms gobble all yearlong.

I learned later they were right.

I was still unfamiliar with the bird aside from the savvy ascribed to it by Ben Franklin, and its portrait on the label of a bottle of bourbon.

A guy at the Big Horn show, a self-described unbelievably-astute buster of toms, laid out a simple formula for bagging a wiley tom turkey, and I sat for two hours through the same 20-minute lecture until I figured I had mastered this calculus that used mouth calls and a lot of camo.

I bought a mail-order cassette tape and a small plastic box of calls that are placed on the back of your tongue and make you gag. Once you get the hang of them, however, you can pipe along like a Charlie Daniels fiddle tune.

The next thing I knew I was up a river valley in the dark preparing to reconnoiter a quarry that was hyper astute, and so sensitive to unnatural sounds, I wore sneakers.

When I slammed the truck door, a tom gobbled back.

So much for the owl call who cooks for you, who cooks for you all? which the guy at the horn show marketed as a must-have.

I learned everyone kind of cooks for themselves in the turkey woods, and some birds come easily to a call while others won稚.

That season one of my daughters, half-asleep, spring air reddening her cheeks and wisping her blond hair, leaned out the window of the pickup truck as we drove to school. She practiced a gobble call found on the dashboard and called in two toms. I slammed on the brakes. The turkeys raced into the road from a greening hillside and strutted between potholes, their regalia fully rigged.

鉄hoot it dad, my daughter said. But, unlike the attorney, I left the blunderbuss at home, so we watched instead.

The tom I pummeled that spring took several early mornings until I learned the formula: Turkey roost, turkey food, turkey route, sunshine, bang.

I admire people with the fortitude and patience to bag a tom with a bow, but I prefer the old-fashioned way. Although I haven稚 done it for a while and may have to relearn it a little getting in position for a tom to swing through just long enough for me to hold tight, then squeeze, as he glubs and fans his tail like the Thanksgiving postcard, tickles me a bit.

And it allows me to carry something out of the woods without breaking too much of a sweat.

Ralph Bartholdt can be reached at rbartholdt@cdapress.com.

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