I'm Too Smart for Them

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Published on: Apr. 2, 1996

Last revision: Oct. 21, 2010

strategy is to be as dumb as a turkey hen, which is pretty dumb.

I always plot my strategy like Gen. Eisenhower working up Operation Overlord. Better I should amble into the woods like Clem Kadiddlehopper. On the season's first day, I cleverly located myself near a roost (i.e. I walked into it in the dark). As the turkeys woke, the gobblers gobbled and the hens yelped. The hens sounded like a bobcat with inflamed sinuses. If I couldn't do better than that, I'd quit I thought, smirking. I did better than that, sending into the trees an assortment of seductive clucks and yelps that should have had the gobblers falling helplessly off the roost, crying, "Take me! Take me, you mad, impetuous hen!"

Instead, there was a great suspicious silence and then, with the roar of a jet leaving an aircraft carrier, the flock flew off. I heard shooting far down the hill, where the rubes and dummies were scratching their home made box calls and themselves.

It is a curse to be too good.

There's no point in being clever to an audience that doesn't appreciate it. Turkeys have a brain the size of a gnome's postage stamp. Put a million turkey brains together and you might get one human thought on the order of: Wonder what a cheeseburger tastes like.

No turkey is listed among the authors of the 100 greatest books ever written. Turkeys have not invented machines to butter toast nor to pick gristle from between our teeth. Turkeys have contributed to civilization only by lying quietly on a plate, legs in the air.

And here I have spent 30 years, not to mention countless dollars, seeking perfection in the quest for a bird that will gobble at the sound of a hog feeder banging in the distance and will investigate someone beating the dust out of a rug, thinking it is a gobbler fight.

Turkeys have fallen in love with tractors, for crying out loud! Why don't we dress up as Allis Chalmers? Who needs camouflage? Go out there in a big yellow suit, belching black smoke and dragging a four-bottom plow.

There is great satisfaction in knowing the reason I don't kill turkeys is that I'm too good. There also is relief. I'd begun to think there was something wrong with me when all the time the problem was my incredibly developed talent.

I am gratified that I've gotten so good I can't possibly kill a turkey. In fact, I don't know another hunter who is as good as I am. The rest all kill turkeys, indicating they haven't quite reached my exalted skill level. Poor saps!

In fact, I've gotten so good that I think I'll just rest on my laurels (this woodland bed of poison ivy and sharp chunks of flint). Maybe I won't even hunt for a season or two. Let my skills get rusty.

So rusty, so awkward and pitiful that maybe I can call in a doggone turkey.

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