May 16, 2002

Outdoor Corner

by Chris Feeney

There's not a whole lot on my May sports schedule that doesn't get washed out by six inches of rain. So much for the final weekend of turkey season. The season premiere of twilight golf at Timber Ridge Country Club was washed away as well. Hopes were high after the season opener at Scotland County Speedway, but the second race of the year was a casualty of Mother Nature. Let's not even talk about fishing, as the local ponds won't get back to normal for weeks.

But my sports week was not a total wash. I took advantage of a trip to Kansas City on Thursday for a Rotary function to attend a Kansas City Royals baseball game. While neither of our Missouri baseball teams have been burning it up, the Royals actually won on this night, hitting three home runs to come from behind. After a slow start the game turned into a gem, reminding me why I enjoy baseball so much, even if it costs $5.25 for a beverage. We had amazing tickets, about 30 rows up behind the first base dugout. Not only was the view incredible we could actually hear the players as they chatted coming off the field between innings. That may have had something to do with the fact there were less than 10,000 folks in the stands as the Royals have not been a good team thus far.

Even though we knew the forecast for Saturday was bleak, my brother-in-law and I ventured out before the big family dinner Friday evening to do a little scouting. We were not disappointed. We had to stop the Jeep on the way back to the hunting spots to watch a turkey in full strut serenading a couple hens. It turned out that there were three male birds together and before long they all were puffed up and trying out their dance steps on the ladies.

We ended up getting back for dinner a little late as we could not make ourselves leave the entertainment. Within 30 minutes we had six, yes half-a-dozen gobblers, all in full strut, trying to catch the eye of the 13 hens in various stages of feeding in the old bean field. Four of the toms were close enough together we thought there might be a little sparring. We passed the binoculars back and forth in order to watch the show as more and more turkeys poured into the field from all directions. I had not seen that many birds the two plus weeks of the season prior to that, combined.

The lone problem area was on the drive back to the house when I realized I had my camera in the car the entire time and never took a blasted photo. I'm sure a few hunters, those who know how stories can become exaggerated a bit when it comes to hunting and fishing, would have been more likely to believe this true story with picture evidence. I did manage to snap an even more rare photograph right before we got back to the house. I took a couple pictures of the rare species commonly known as the pheasant. We saw a rooster and hen cross the field path in front of us. The two split up, one on each side of the road and they ran along side of us for quite a distance. I guess there are so few birds left out there these two were willing to risk any danger from us in order to stay together.

The rain ruined my hunting, fishing, golfing and racing over the weekend. While it didn't totally prevent me from coming up with some material for this column I felt pretty bummed out about the waste of a Saturday and Sunday with no outdoor fun. But at least I didn't drive five plus hours from Springfield just to hunt and fish and have the trip turned into a two-day movie fest.

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