Rainy Day Jake
Home Up The Black Hole Literary Review Wm. E. Allendorf, Prop.

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I realized this morning that turkey hunting and work are so similar as to be nearly interchangeable in my life.  I get up early, trudge around in the cold, and then try to make myself comfortable while I sit on my rump and listen while those around me make obnoxious noises.  Sometimes I make obnoxious noises back at them, but mostly I try to blend into the landscape and not upset anyone. I try to be seen and heard as little as possible.

Most days, I knock off as early as I can and get home and do my chores before going to bed early.  However, on a few occasions, I get lucky and somebody gets careless and gets too close and then I blow their heads off with my shotgun.  Then I throw them in the trunk of my car, take them home, skin them and throw their carcass in the freezer.  Before I do, I make sure to take lots of pictures to post on the internet for my friends-

  . . .On second thought, nevermind.

 It’s funny what goes through your head when you’re bored witless.  Five AM came and went.  There were several small thunder bumpers coming up from Cynthiana.  I had been watching them since the afternoon before—small and slow, but filled with lots of  cloud-to-ground lightning. Something about walking around in one of those with what amounts to a large metal pole is not my idea of fun.  Call me old fashioned.

Yesterday I watched the first one of these come through.  Just before it hit, I  spied two jakes out in the back pasture, by the Jagende Hutte, strutting for the lone hen that likes to hang out by the far barn.  They were doing it more to impress themselves than anything else.

Anyhow, after the storm moved on, the jakes appeared over the rise by the first barn, heading my way.  I had been in since 10, grousing over the bad case of lockjaw that seemed to have affected my turkeys—a few gobbles at sun-up and then zilch for the rest of the day—two days running.  I had one nice one in the freezer already, but I could stand another.  Besides, that was Monday.  This was now Wednesday.

I had already started happy hour when the first storm hit, but that was not going to deter me.  I jumped into a poncho, grabbed my shotgun and some shells and ran across the road, coming back up between the tobacco barn and the stripping shed.  From there, it was a forty foot hands-and-knees crawl in a lingering drizzle up to the berm where we shoot full-auto.  I peaked over the top of the berm and  . . .

 The Two Jakes were deciding whether to cross under the fence and go look for worms in my back yard.  One decided to do so. The other decided not.  There was a bit of a stand-off, and they finally decided to head back the way they came.  There closest approach to me, at the berm, was about 60 yards.  It was just out of range.

I yelped.  It turned them.  This time they got back within seventy yards before unseen forces lured them back to the second barn.  I was just rolling away from my view from under a small cedar and between two oak trees when a flash of light reflected off my glasses and I was shaken by a pounding blast of thunder. Oh, so that was what the jakes were watching!    I skedaddled back up to the porch, lost the poncho and shotgun and resumed happy hour.

 After a fitful night of on-and-off storms, I was watching the radar and watching for the last cell to blow through.  I made it out the door at 10 AM.  I set up shop back in the area of the Leaning Tree.  I found my shell casing from Monday, as well as the wad.  I was right—it must have hit the gobbler in the neck, for it was only a couple feet away from where he had died.  The rain was gone, but it was only in the low forties and the wind was stiff.  I was glad I had a goretex jacket on.  I set up shop, clucked and yelped a few times and then started to wait.  Within the half hour, I got one gobble.  I yelped again.  Ten minute passed, and then I heard another gobble.  This time  it had changed its bearing to me by  a good 45 degrees.  I got set. 

I must have something wrong with me.  No matter how I set up, my first guess on where a turkey is coming always seems to be wrong.  This time, I was staring out at the pasture directly in front of me when I heard a non-descript sound coming from my left—up the hill a bit and directly by the big fallen tree that is leaning against its neighbor.  Three jakes were on their way, into the road bed and heading away from me.

 I clucked.  They turned.  I yelped.  They started towards me.  I waited until they had passed into a clump of cedars and then got my gun up and around.  They came around the cedars, intent on having their way with me.  The lead one stuck out his head and gave a good deep gobble and then put his head up straight to see if he could see the hen that was calling from the fallen logs.

This is the second time I’ve killed a turkey this week with the wad of my Federal Premium #4’s.  This time I saw it go in.  It knocked Jake off his feet and dropped him. He never moved.  The other two ran up and clucked at him, encouraging to leave quickly before the thing that was making loud noises made another one.  Then the two companions went VSTOL and flew off like a couple of Falkland Island harriers.   I  unloaded and went over to check.  Sure enough, the wad was laying in the track just in front of a small patch of blood.  Jake was stone dead.

There are now two turkeys in the freezer. The Mossy is on the table, begging to be cleaned and oiled at put in the case. In years past, my season would be over.  However, this year I have only one day off and then Moose and Angus show up for the weekend.  I’ve got a day for scouting and then my two young protégé’s will have their chance. 

 

Now that's a nice end to a guy's season, right there.

 

 


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