By Dirk Thayer
The Star Herald
The season is upon us, right around the corner. My favorite of all–-turkey season.
There is just something about an ole turkey gobbler that makes my sap rise.
I reckon it all started when I was just a jake.
I bought a small Lynch slate call with some lawn mowing money I had made.
I didn't really have a mentor to show me the ropes; I had to learn by trial and error.
I read and studied all I could about the "monarch of the woods".
Later in life I did glean some valuable knowledge from some old turkey pros.
We didn't have all the hunting videos, television shows, multitude of calls, turkey decoys, etc that are available today.
In a way I hate to see it get as commercialized as it has become today because every Tom, Dick and Harry wants to try it.
The results are spooked or wounded birds.
When I started many years ago there were only a dedicated few.
The secrets of the hunt were only passed down to those that showed a genuine interest and respect for the king of the swamp.
I have already had a few come by this year wanting some tips on calling and I don't mind showing the ones I feel are going to hunt the bird with respect, admiration and dedication the bird deserves.
I will admit that I am kind of selfish when it comes to turkey hunting and apply the old school way of hunting them.
I know by today's standards of run, gun and call with a multitude of gear for the hunt, I fall way short.
I'm sort of like the country song by Toby Keith, "I ain't as good as I once was, but I am good once as I ever was".
I love the sport of the hunt more than the kill.
Don't get me wrong; there is nothing more rewarding than the weight of a hefty gobbler with a long beard and spurs hanging over your shoulder after the hunt.
I collect turkey calls, slates, scratch type, wing bone and box calls. My biggest collection is of box calls and I have every type imaginable from commercial grade to custom grade. You guessed it, a box call is what I hunt with most.
As I reach back in my memory bank, I pull up birds like - Mr. Fence Line, Fish Hook Bird, Birthday Bird, Praise the Lord Bird, just to name a few.
I can play it back in my mind's eye better than any hunting video on the market today.
There is something about hunting an ole gobbler that borders on fanatical.
If you hunt him in the traditional manner you are reversing Mother Nature as the gobbler usually calls the hen to him. So by sounding like a hen you are playing on his lovesick mind and making him go against nature if you can bring him to your call.
I have watched old gobblers in the tallest pine in the swamp gobble all morning and not fly off the roost until a hen walked under him not saying a word.
Then sometimes you may have a bachelor group come in at racing speeds trying to beat one another to the lovesick hen.
Nothing surprises me anymore. In the turkey woods as if you may think you have it all figured out Mr. Tom will humble you.
Remember you are on his turf and if luck is going to fall, it will be in his favor most of the time.
If you don't believe me, you haven't hunted him very long. Yes, there is what my son and I like to call stupid birds that come in like they are on a fishing line.
By the end of the season if you have been matching wits with a mature gobbler, you are probably wishing for one of these stupid birds.
But most of them have either been killed or thoroughly whipped by the boss gobbler.
You won't see many of them passing on the stupid gene.
I look forward to the season with mixed emotions as I have a tendency to wear myself out trying to convince Mr. Gobbler that I am the sexiest gal in the woods.
So, if you are a serious turkey hunter, I wish for you a long beard and limb hanging spurs.
But if you are not, stay home, we don't need anything else messing up our odds.
On the Porch with Dirk is a recurring article written by Dirk Thayer, an avid outdoorsman and storyteller.