Like Son, Like Father

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Published on: Mar. 2, 2003

rumble--it was my stomach. I pulled a sloppily-made sandwich out of a side pocket, unwrapped it and gulped it like a bird dog.

About mid-morning I passed the limit of posterior patience and rose, groaning like The Ghost of Turkey Season Past. I know that good turkey hunters are rewarded for being patient, that gobblers first serve their harem, then run to calls from a sexy lady under a distant cedar tree. I know this, but good advice is easier to take when you're not starving and bottom-weary. I gimped toward the truck. There's always tomorrow.

I figured I would go home and commiserate with Andy over our mutual defeat. The disappointed father comforting the disappointed son.

Andy had come and gone. "Without a bird," my wife reported. My spirits lightened a bit.

Poor Andy. Well, when he gets home from work we'll share our stories of woodland wipeout.

I was home, moodily munching dry toast, when Andy appeared like the Angel of Good Tidings:

"What are you doing home?" I asked, thinking he should be at work earning an honest living. He merely smiled and beckoned me to follow. I knew instantly that I was one behind in the turkey harvest.

He told me about his hunt, which took place ten miles north of me. It was somewhat different than mine.

Early in the morning, Andy had slipped through our home woods to the far northeast corner, where there is a cedar glade. He set his decoys and settled in beneath the spreading limbs of an old cedar. It was a perfect hide--concealed, yet open enough for a wide field of fire.

Andy said he'd spotted a big-bodied bird well out in the pasture early and called. The bird wasn't interested and remained where he was, pecking and feeding, before wandering off down the hill. Andy stayed with it until 8:30, when he decided it wasn't going to happen. (We Vances recognize futility quickly.)

He returned to the house to eat breakfast. For whatever reason, he decided to postpone work and go back out. As soon as he sat down, he saw the same gobbler down the hill. This time it started right for him when he called.

Andy said the gobbler came halfway and stopped and strutted and gobbled once. Then he disappeared down a little ditch. Minutes went by that seemed like hours while Andy kept his gun up and ready. All of a sudden he heard a

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