Marvin and Newton hunt down two

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 20, 2000

My college roommate dropped by the other day, and I was reminded of how good a turkey hunter he is. He's one of those people who just has that sense of what to do and where to go to bring home Old Mr. Tom from the woods. Listening to him talk about his successes in the field of stalking a wily gobbler, I remembered a great illustration of the other side of the hunting coin.

Seems that Marvin and Newton, some years ago, embarked on an expedition early one morning in pursuit of old Mr. Tom Turkey. This was before the days of computer generated camouflage patterns and genetically produced turkey calls, so they had to rely on the old-fashioned method of skill and stealth. Talk about two people being handicapped from the start.

They headed into the woods well before daybreak and began to "owl" to see if they could locate a roosting big boy. (For the uninitiated, "owling" is when you make sounds like a hoot owl. Turkeys usually respond with a gobble. If somebody woke me up in the morning with a hoot-owl sound, I'd probably respond with something that sounded like Farsi and was accompanied by airborne shoes and clocks.) With Marvin's deep bass Southern drawl, it came out more like "HOOOOOOO THOOOOOO OOOTYA'LLLLL". Trust me, only a Southern turkey would understand that call.

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No luck. They walked and yelped and walked and owled and walked and hooted and walked and clucked and walked and. . . you get the picture. With morning fully upon them, they headed back for the truck. This also being in the days before GPS navigation systems, they went about finding the truck in another old-fashioned way: they wandered around until they found something that looked sort of familiar, or until they came upon somebody who knew

where they were and gave them a ride back. As they wandered about, Newton let loose on more little yelp and. . . GOBBLEGOBBLEGOBBLEGOBBLE!!!!!

It sounded like the Rolling Stones of turkeys: full volume and arrogant. They could tell it was coming from over the hill in front of them, so they dropped and crawled to just below the crest. Peeking over the edge quickly, what did they see but not one, but two turkey heads above full strut bodies.

Marvin and Newton were faced with a dilemma. As anyone who has ever hunted a turkey knows, they're just a little too fast and a little too big to flush them, then try to shoot them on the wing. If you were successful, you'd have to use something that looked like an anti-aircraft gun and you'd probably only wind up with the makings for turkey burgers. Besides, there's got to be a challenge to life. Marvin and Newton put their two heads together (which got them almost to a normal intelligence level) and proceeded to plot.

"Okay, here's the play," said Newton. "We'll ambush them. On three, we jump up and BOOM!" For the first time in their lives they instantly agreed on something.

Plan implemented. Plan successful. Two flopping toms on the ground.

However, about the time Marvin and Newton noticed the strands of fencing that separated the two TAME turkeys from the rest of the rest of the pasture. Oops.

They told me later that there's no feeling like that of walking up to a farmhouse with somebody's pet turkey dangling from your fist, hoping lightning will strike you before you get to the door.

Turkeys and lightning: you just can't count on finding either one when you need them.