I went Turkey hunting for the first time with the opening of this year’s season.
By turkey, I’m not talking about the guitarist-turned-NRA Board Member Ted Nugent. He’s a turkey, but in the figurative sense.
The “Motor City Madman” has been in the news a lot lately.
Most recently he made an impassioned plea for support for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney during the National Rifle Association meeting in St. Louis. “We need to ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November,” Nugent said of the Obama administration. He also included a cryptic pronouncement: “If Barack Obama becomes the next president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.” The words were taken so seriously that he was paid a visit by the Secret Service, another set of turkeys in the news of late.
Nugent burst on the scene briefly in 1977 with the release of his album, “Cat Scratch Fever.” The first track of the album was titled same as the cover followed by the less well-known “Wang Dang Sweet Poontang.”
In 2005, Nugent was involved in a legal battle for not paying enough support for a child he had out of wedlock. He was ordered to pay $3,500 a month in child support.
On Aug. 13, 2010, he pled no contest in Yuba County to two misdemeanors: illegally baiting a deer, and failing to have a deer tag signed by a government official after a kill. He was caught because he had filmed himself hunting and aired the footage on his own television show.
In April 2012, Nugent pled guilty to two misdemeanors for illegally taking a bear after shooting one earlier at a bait station.
With such a resume, it’s no wonder that Mitt Romney courted him for an endorsement.
No, I’m not talking Nugent but a real live turkey, the bird Benjamin Franklin suggested to be included in our national emblem instead of the Bald Eagle. The same game bird that almost went extinct in the 1930s due to over hunting and habitat degradation but was saved courtesy of the Pittman-Robert Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937. That act, by the way, never would have passed if the Ted Nugents of the world had the same influence then as they do today. Also gone forever would have been white-tailed deer and wood ducks.
The trip came about when a friend of mine asked if he could hunt on a piece of land we own north of Solon. My answer was “yes, but there’s not many turkey out there.” My thoughts immediately turned to a local farmer I know who has let me hunt his land for pheasants. On one of those trips I remembered seeing an entire herd of turkey so I gave him a call and got permission.
So 5 a.m. opening day found my buddy and I sitting in lawn chairs under a camouflaged canopy on the edge of some woods next to farmland. I wasn’t sure how long my partner would want to stay so I packed a few provisions: two sandwiches, a can of nuts, package of jerky, apple, a couple of candy bars and a thermos of coffee. By 6 a.m. I had finished off my snacks, drained my coffee and begun thinking about where turkey hunters go to the bathroom. At 6:05, we heard a gobble in the woods behind us, and during the next half hour my friend expertly called him in by making noises like a female turkey looking for a date. At 6:30 a.m. we heard a crash in the woods behind us and moments later one large male turkey glided to a landing 30 feet away, framed perfectly through my window.
My buddy whispered, “shoot it,” and I carefully yet purposely raised my shot gun and... wang, dang, out of space.