Here for the Gobble

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Published on: Feb. 2, 2008

Last revision: Dec. 7, 2010

women who were at the same skill level. There were even a couple of women who were already competent deer and waterfowl hunters.

The instructors were funny, enthusiastic and knowledgeable. Though we heckled them mercilessly and made a torturous racket practicing turkey calls, they were never patronizing or impatient, and they made sure that we were never embarrassed by our novice skills. “Some of the worst turkey calls I ever heard were made by turkeys,” encouraged instructor Kent Bridges. “You don’t have to be great to get results.”

According to conservation agent Mic Plunkett, one of our clinic’s coordinators, “The good old days of turkey hunting are right now,” and we were looking forward to meeting our guides and finding out for ourselves.

Meeting Eddie

“Don’t tell Eddie I said this, but you’re getting the pick of the litter as a turkey hunting guide,” wrote Mic.

Eddie Hovis, a resource technician for the Department, was a volunteer guide for our turkey clinic, but we hadn’t met. I e-mailed Mic my effusive thanks and a rambling note about my nervousness.

“Just do me one favor,” replied Mic. “Come down here and wallop some big old longbeard!”

So I called Eddie to set up our meeting. It was a pleasant, but whirlwind, conversation that I could barely recall once I hung up. I had the impression that I was just sucked in and spit out by some sort of energy vortex. I sat dazed for a moment before I checked the directions he had given me. I wondered if he was as energetic in person.

I met Eddie at his home near Piedmont. He gave me a warm hello and a bright smile, pumped my hand, introduced me to his son, Andy (also a volunteer guide), and invited me inside. We talked for a moment about the next day’s hunt, made sure that my clothing would make me look sufficiently shrub-like and stealthy, and then we were off again for a brief tour of the area, a stop to see his new grandbaby and then to check out the camp where I would be staying the night.

Eddie, extraordinarily, was actually more energetic in person. He was also funny, casual and confident, and he treated me like family throughout my visit. Even if I never saw a turkey, Mic was right, Eddie was the guide for me.

Eddie’s final advice before we parted was, “Call if you need anything, whatever the time.

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