Saturday, May 18, 2013

Our Turkey Season

Georgia's turkey season ended Wednesday, though Levi and I wrapped ours up a few weeks back.  Turkeys are very important to us.  I study and write about them, photograph and hunt them, spend many hours improving their habitat, and they provide us with sustenance throughout the spring.  Their feathers fletch our arrows and adorn our house, we craft turkey calls from their wingbones, and generally think about them year round.

I've never pushed Levi to do the things I do, but he has an intense interest in nature that is likely due to a combination of genetics and environment  (nature nurturing?). From hunting and fishing to gardening, studying  and collecting insects, to spending hours drawing bird pictures from a field guide.  It follows that he really wanted to tag along this year, and he was my companion every weekend when he was out of school.  He was often up before the 5:00 am alarm went off, and always with his camo and gear laid out carefully the night before.

We had a wonderful season.....accompanied by spring and all its accoutrements; barred owls, the smell of burnt pine woods, glimpses of coyotes, deer, nesting Carolina wrens.  And turkeys!!  We watched turkeys strut and gobble, watched hens dust in freshly turned fields, and had a number of hens pass within feet of our boots without ever knowing we were there.  

Levi got his first turkey, a nice jake, in late April.  His second bird was an old, hook-spurred longbeard I'm sure I've tangled with several times over the years.  Both came in silently to our calling, though the longbeard strutted and put on a show the whole way in.  I mostly hunt alone, so it's been a new experience to sit thankfully in the dirt next to an emerald and copper gobbler with a son who is learning an old craft and experiencing new things.  Our first family meal from the meat he gathered was a really cool experience, and obviously meant a great deal to him.  He began learning patience (a real work in progress) and woodsmanship lessons.  We spent a lot of our 'hunting time' on hands and knees looking at beetles, flint chips, and creek mussels.  I think it's important to find beauty (and fun!) in all things natural, and also to understand our little role in bringing food to the table.  I think he's learning that; as farm kids and Indian children have always known, though fewer of us do these days.

Keep it Wild!                 

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