May 2, 2002

Outdoor Corner

by Chris Feeney

At my age I've heard a lot of folks do some shuffling of priorities. This became apparent to me last week when I learned how I truly feel about turkey hunting. The season opener fell on a Monday morning. And there I sat at my desk first thing Monday morning slaving away on the newspaper. Okay so the next day is nearly exciting, especially for those who miss the opener. Yet there I was at the computer preparing the upcoming edition.

One might begin to think that I've written off turkey season. Oh contraire. It just happened that it was pretty bad timing for me as for some ridiculous reason I scheduled our annual lawn and garden special insert for the same week of the opener. So there I sat Monday well into the night. The same was true on Tuesday as the printing deadline loomed with the newspaper needing to leave Memphis by 5:00 a.m. Wednesday morning to get to the printer. Fortunately at 4:37 a.m. I put the final touches on the paper just in time to get it on the road.

The last three or four hours were tough. I was on the Mountain Dew kick complete with tooth picks to hold my eyelids up. Adding up Sunday, Monday and Tuesday I had already passed my 40-hour workweek.

So most sane people would close up shop, sneak home and slip into bed for some needed R & R. Not this dope. He speeds home, nearly wakes up the entire household digging out his camouflage, decoys and the whole truck load of stuff deemed necessary to go hunting. That's right, I was going to go turkey hunting, meaning I would go without sleep for some 48 hours. To most this behavior may seem a bit bizarre, but not to an avid turkey hunter. Most of them are reading this and saying they can't believe this guy wasted his time working so many hours that could have been better utilized in the field.

I have to admit that half way to the farm I was starting to second guess my decision, either that or I was dreaming that I was. Even a blood-Mountain Dew content of .50 wasn't enough to scare away the drooping eyelids and the visions of my favorite feather pillow. But somehow I made it to my favorite spot. Miraculously I didn't forget anything important at home, like my gun (done that before), my license, calls, or head net. Maybe even more amazing was the fact that I got to my spot, prepared all the works and sat patiently waiting for some 15 minutes before the first gobbler let loose his wake up call. The amazing part was that I heard the silly thing over my snoring. Maybe I should replace the buzzer on my alarm clock with a turkey gobble because the last thing I was thinking was about hitting the snooze button.

I made it to 9:30 a.m. and only dozed off for a few minutes here and there between all the turkey calling I heard. Things didn't work out and there was no turkey for me to haul out when I decided to call it quits, but that didn't mean it wasn't a successful hunt. With birds gobbling all morning long and even a few making efforts to work in my general vicinity, it was a nice morning of hunting. Well that was until I had to go home, quickly clean up and head in to work on no sleep. Needless to say, I could have used a turkey gobble or two late in the afternoon to get me going when I was ready to doze off. Unfortunately I don't think Wanda has mastered that sound yet.

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