The Turkey Hunt

The Turkey Hunt

My husband went spring turkey hunting and bagged a turkey. The photo above is the pozole he made with it. It was tasty.

Where we live, spring turkey hunting requires a tag, and once he'd filed his, I thought, sure I'll go try it out. And for those unfamiliar with spring turkey hunting, you call the turkeys into you, trying to tempt a male into gobbling at you until he's in range. You can't use electronic calls (that would be unsporting) so you use slates and mouth pieces etc. Also, turkeys apparently have good eye sight, so camo is required.

And I have a mishmash of camo. I have some camo BDU's I got from work, which are of course made of all cotton, and not made for a woman. When I wear them they are incredibly tight on my hips and butt yet so voluminous at the cargo pockets I could use them as a parachute. I have a co-worker who likes to tell me I always look like I'm wearing my dad's uniform, despite the pants being allegedly my size. Also, trying to get something out of my pocket while sitting is physically impossible. I don't mean this metaphorically. I mean, I will never, ever get my chapstick from my pocket while in a sitting position.

But, those were the pants I had, so those were the pants I would wear. Turkey hunting is also apparently one of those activities which require a pre-dawn start, not typically my favorite. But, I figured, as long as we were going to do this, we might as well make a thing of it. I pre-made breakfast burritos.

Turned out though I didn't really have any meat in the fridge, but I did find a package of pepperoni left over from the night we made pizza. I figured, it's kinda like sausage, like I'll care at four a.m.

And then it was suddenly 4:30 am. We had coffee, made a second thermos of coffee, got in the car and started our hour drive to the hunting location. About twenty minutes into the drive, I cracked open the burrito I had so smartly made the night before.

It tasted a bit weird. But it was so early in the morning it was still dark. What did I know about anything? I ate some more of it. But it still tasted weird. We zigged and zagged with the road, the heat on, me drinking my second cup of coffee. Then we hit the dirt road. In addition to zigging and zagging, we were now bouncing too.

Suddenly, I was hot. Like panic hot. I still held the burrito, which I was still trying to eat by convincing myself it wasn't bad, but I immediately knew. I needed to stop eating this thing. I wrapped it back up in the foil, practically threw it onto the dashboard, and turned off the heat. My pants, cutting into my thighs and waist, suddenly hurt more than they normally did. I felt a little dizzy. And my stomach felt bad.

We made it to the trailhead. My husband put his burrito in his backpack. I told him not to, but he told me it was fine. I was sweating. Then I would stop sweating. My temperature swung like an off-kilter carnival ride. My stomach rumbled, but at least I was standing now. I could get my chapstick, as if that would help me.

While I was wondering if I was about to shit my pants, My husband was SO excited. Fresh snow coated the ground. The morning was still and beautiful. He pointed at the ridge we were going to, whispering even though we hadn't yet left the truck.

We started to walk. And by walk, I mean, we started to go at my husband's slow pace, which is only slow to him and to no one else. He was tracking one of the occupants of the only other two vehicles at the trailhead, trying to decide how to avoid the guy. I was taking big gulps of air.

We entered the woods, and my husband took us to the area where he'd shot his bird the week before. We sat beside a tree, and he started to call. Now this was when I was supposed to be really still, but two things were happening. My body was in a life or death fight with the half of a pepperoni burrito I both made and then stupidly consumed, and the snow on the ground had soaked my all cotton, thigh cutting BDU pants, and I COULD NOT sit still. I mean, I was uncomfortable, wet and cold, but I was sweating because my guts were truly fighting for me.

Finally, I couldn't take it. I told my husband, I had to go. I staggered into a standing position and managed to make it to a tree well.

To say I felt better after expelling the burrito would be a bit of lie. I felt calmer, like I was no longer going to explode, but I didn't immediately feel better. It's kinda like when you have a near miss car accident. You don't immediately think, Oh hey, cool. I'm not dead, I feel totes great now. No, your brain is all sharp and jagged and loud with the fact that something really bad almost did happen, but didn't, and maybe this would be a perfect time for some latent anxiety to intrude because all your mental coping mechanisms have been striped bare.

So I made my way back to my husband, feeling a little shell shocked, and I sat back down, but by then I was just cold because my pants was totally wet. My husband didn't even seem to realize that snow was actually wet because he was wearing sweet new fancy hunting pants I got him for his birthday, and since he's a dude, he's basically a walking furnace with an extra coating of man leg hair.

So I squirmed. I shifted positions. My husband patiently worked the turkey calls, but I was so uncomfortable, and those stupid pants were made for men with no hips or thighs or butts, and by that point, I really wanted some chapstick, but as we discussed, it was in the Fort Knox of pockets. My husband, sensing I was struggling decided we should try to walk. Nothing had been responding to our calls anyway.

We stood up, walked about fifty yards, and BAM. Three turkeys, including one tom, flushed down the ravine. They never even made a sound.

I have to say, seeing the turkeys was really nice. The morning had been so, so, so still, the ground white, the sky grey, that I had almost forgotten they were supposedly out there. I was in such an internal battle for survival, it was good to be brought back to what we were actually doing.

My husband though, he had a lot of thoughts on the turkeys. If only we had stayed sitting a little longer! But they were real! We saw them! It wasn't a total boondoggle! They went to those trees! We would flank them!

We continued to pursue the turkeys, at one point ending up in a clearing that was totally silent. Snow fell in that magic, almost Hollywood way, were it seemed like a video game. We did not see those turkeys again, but we had a good time stomping through the snow.

When we finally returned to the car, it was about eleven. My husband told me it was time to eat his burrito, which I told him not to do. But he's never been scared of some possibly bad food, and he dove into it recklessly. We got in the car, and he looked at me, hand to his stomach.

"My stomach feels a little weird." And then it made a loud chugging noise.

"I told you not to eat it."

We drove back down the mountain. A few minutes into the drive my husband said, "You know, I don't actually think that the burritos were bad. I think eating yours at four am after two cups of coffee was ill advised. But I don't think that's the burrito's fault."

And while his point might have been valid, I did not finish the burrito. Instead I vowed, never again would I put pepperoni in a burrito. I also considered getting a little thermal pad to sit on. Then later I realized, not only should I get a thermal pad to sit on, I should get some pants that actually fit me, as opposed to pants I was told would fit me.

As they say, free the chapstick, free the mind.