History never does really repeat itself. I wish I could go back in
time to 2003 and really hunt my arch nemesis, Mister Natural. We
fought each other all through season on 2003. He won. I ended up with
bronchitis. It's a long story.
Mister Natural and the Incident at Broken Corners
I haven't had the urge to go back and repeat 2003's season over again, at
least not how it played out back then. As a result, I've shied away
from the barn at Broken Corners. However, the day before, I'd been on
the phone, pretty much where you see me in the picture and I looked out to
the pasture beside Broken Corners. There was this gobbler strutting in
Mister Natural's old place. I haven't seen Natural in a while. I
don't think he made it through the winter a couple of years ago. But
here was a good looking bird showing his stuff. I made up my mind that
I would have at him on the 'morrow.
I took up a station inside the barn in my old spot. The blind I had
made back 5 years ago was there-- a bit bedraggled, but still usable.
It was nothing but a wooden gate, a couple pieces of sheet tin and some
tobacco stakes, but it blocked the entrance to the barn enough for me to
hide and yet have a good view of Mister Natural's strut zone in the middle
of the field. . I read a little of Meshack Browning's autobiography,
took a quick snooze, and threw out a yelp here and there on my box call.
After three tries, I got a response. I took a short nap, got up, tried
a pull or two on the call again, and the gobbler answered. He was
closer too. He was on
I did not see him come into the field. In fact, I was quite
surprised when he just suddenly appeared in the middle of the pasture, just
the way Mister Natural used to. He was not as big as 'Natural. He did
not have the beard dragging on the ground or the evil hooked spurs, but the
beard was skinny like Natural's and he had that same kind of swagger.
He grew impatient, and stuck his neck out for a gobble. It gave me
time to get my shotgun up over a rail of the gate.
Unlike Mister Natural, his son had not yet acquired the ability to be
bulletproof. His head and neck disappeared and I saw the feet come up
as he tumbled.
One load of #4's, and an hour or so invested, and the son of my arch
nemesis had been reduced to possession. It all seemed so simple this
He was thin when he was on his feet, but his look was deceiving. I would
have guessed him at under 18 pounds, but he was over 22 when I weighed him.
He had a beard that barely made 10 inches and the normal spurs of a 2 year
old. His beard had a tinge of red in it.
Somewhere close by, down towards the bottom is a picture of where
this all took place. On the left is the Barn at
I spent several days in there back in 2003, waiting for Natural. By
the time he finally showed, I was too sick to shoot straight. To the
right is the pasture at the foot of Gobbler's Knob and the Jagendehutte,
where we've shot a bunch of deer. Son of Natural came all the way down
from the right beyond the cedar thicket where Hootin' Holler empties
out into Willow Creek. For some reason, he really wanted a piece of that box
call, an Heirloom Dixie Darling that Brian Warner sent me to test.