and listened to a squirrel call me names that you can't print in a family magazine.
A couple hours later the dinner bell sounded in my stomach, and I went home to eat. I neither saw nor heard any turkeys. The rest of the first week trundled by, and I figured my permit cost was a contribution to conservation, not a ticket to Thanksgiving dinner.
Saturday was the last day of the first week's hunting. I was cleaning out the woodworking shop because if it rained, the marriage would take place between the joiner and the radial arm saw. I clattered around with the quiet grace of a garbage collector, and then heard faint yelps from the edge of the woods, about 50 yards away.
"Naw, can't be," I mumbled to myself.
But it was. A second turkey answered the first, and they continued to gossip. I quietly put down the push broom, trotted down the hill and pulled on my camouflage gear. I slipped out the back door and into the woods, making an arc toward the birds. I picked a good-looking tree (one with a comfortable back rest, no stobs sticking up or out and with a bit of foliage in front of me for concealment).
I tucked the mouth caller, idle for five months, into my mouth and earnestly assured the unseen flock that I was lost and scared and really wanted company.
The lost hen call is different from the lovesick spring call where you pour into each passionate series of yelps all the affection-starved emotion of Elvis crooning "Falling In Love With You."
Instead, you put a panicky note into it as if you were whistling past a graveyard in the dark of the moon and you just heard heavy breathing behind you.
Another turkey yelped to my right and up the hill, closer than the original bunch, so I scrootched around the tree, situated myself against a sharp stob that threatened to make me an organ donor before my time, and waited.
Now, hen turkeys are not the toughest things in the world to call. They are communal, love nothing better than good gossip, and if you can promise them a juicy story, they'll show up.
Two did, their blue heads bobbing through the understory. It was as easy as falling off a log. I know all about that, having fallen off many logs in the spring woods when sleep ambushed me.
The lead bird