Setting: A pine grove on a high bench on Huckleberry Mountain. A flock of Merriam’s turkeys has gathered to hear Boss Tom deliver his annual pre-opener advice and admonitions speech.
“Okay, you guys, listen up. As you know, tomorrow is opening day. … What’s that, Louie? Opening day of what? … You know, Louie – we’ve been talking about this for a month. It’s opening day of turkey season.
“Anyway, it has come to my attention that some of you jakes have been struttin’ your stuff over there in the alfalfa field by the highway … Hey! … You two jakes in the back, listen up! This is for you. … Louie – keep that fan closed. … Doreen! Stop with the flirting. … If Louie doesn’t get this, you’re still going to be looking for a boyfriend in June – just like last year.
“Now, where was I? Oh, yeah – you jakes. Everyone and his brother are going to be set up on the public land next to that alfalfa field tomorrow morning. They’ve been watchin’ you guys for months. Now, what we need to do is stay up here and … Louie! Are you listening at all, Louie? This is serious stuff!
“Now, as I was saying, they’ll be set up … What, Louie? … Okay, that’s actually a good question. I forget this is your first opener. ‘Set up’ is what the human predators call it when they put out a plastic hen decoy and then sit in the most uncomfortable spot they can find while making the most pathetic hen sounds you have ever heard. They’re pretty easy to pinpoint because they can’t stay still very long, and most of them yelp too much.
“The trick is … Louie! This is important stuff! No one wants to see you do the moonwalk!
“As I was trying to say, the trick is to not go directly toward the sound of the call. Gobble a couple times, get close, then back off and maybe circle around behind. It’s actually kind of fun. If it’s a human predator, the gobbling really gets him worked up. He’ll bust loose with all kinds of silly noises trying to convince you the love of your life is just standing there waiting for you. … Hey – have any of you jakes even noticed none of these hens here have given you the time of day all winter? But will you ask yourself, ‘Why now?’ Will you? Oh, no – you’ll go running in thinking to score big, and the next thing you know you’re takin’ a ride to town in the bed of a pickup.
“Trust me, boys – these two-legged predators are more persistent than talented, and a lot of ’em aren’t even all that persistent. If you can stay up here with me until, say, 8:00 a.m., they’ll go to breakfast and you’ll have the woods to yourself again.
“Okay, then. Any more questions? … Good. … I hope to see you back here the day after tomorrow. A few of you like Louie will forget everything I’ve said, but that’s nature’s way of strengthening the gene pool. … No, Louie, the gene pool is not for swimming. … It’s been fun knowing you, son.”
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