At 4:15 in the morning of the turkey season opener, I was lying on my stomach on the living room floor with a rubber ball under my chest. I was limbering up so that I could put my boots on. Now that I’m approaching my sixth decade, bending over to lace up my boots is a feat I need to negotiate carefully. Several years ago, I hurt my back and it hasn’t been the same since. In the early morning, my back is the stiffest and I must loosen up gradually to ease into my boots. This requires that I get up a little early and follow a foot-into-boot insertion process that was prescribed by my wife, Jen, a physical therapist and my personal back manager.
Unfortunately, she won’t get up at 4 a.m. to supervise this involved process and lace up my boots for me. Nor will she fix me a hearty breakfast as a precursor to the turkey hunt.
It is only a matter of time before I will need to buy slip-on boots for early morning hunting departures.
After I finally limbered up enough to tie my boots, I prepared a snack to take with me. The night before, Jen baked scones to take to her coworkers as a special treat. Good for me that she was diverted by other activities while the scones baked and the bottoms burned. This meant that I could have as many as I wanted for my turkey hunt. Two seemed appropriate.
I arrived at the Manito Lake Conservation Area in Moniteau County as the sun was rising. I was a little later than I would have liked, but the boots and back took longer than I’d planned.
I stepped out of the truck and was immediately greeted by a thunderous gobble on the other side of a small barn next to the parking lot. The turkey hunt had begun even though I wasn’t ready. I grabbed my gun and camo coat and trotted up to the barn hoping my back was agreeable to this sudden early morning jarring. Then I crawled on my belly along the side of the barn and peeked around the corner to see a lone tom turkey strutting and gobbling 20 yards from me. The bird was well within shotgun range, but I decided I would call him for a closer look and to test my skills.
Besides, I don’t like to shoot a