The Great Turkey Hunt conclusion

By By Thomas R. (Tommy) Walker / special to The Star
April 12, 2002
I locked the brakes and jammed the transmission into park when I saw the big gobbler slam into the net wire fence. I'm falling out the door reaching behind the seat for the gun. Then it hit me. I'm in the car and the gun is locked in the trunk. There ain't no way I can get to the gun before that turkey is long gone.
I had read that if turkeys come up against an obstacle they can't figure out quickly they just keep ramming ahead before they decide to go around or over it. Well sir, that's just what ole graybeard did. He would run his long neck through the fence and when the rest didn't follow he would just ram it again.
I was up that bank in two shakes of a lamb's tail and just as ole tom started to get some wind under those big wings I had holt of one and pulled out a few feathers but it gave enough time to get a firm grip on that giraffe neck. He was getting in some pile diver blows to my sore face and upper body with his elbows while trying to rip my innards out with them bayonets on his legs.
While I'm getting the soup beat out of me we went rolling down that bank in one combluberated blob into the ditch that was about a foot deep in red clay mud.
After giving me the whoppen of my life he took pity on me and gave up. I tore off a piece of what was left of my shredded shirt and tied his feet together. I raked mud off of us and laid him on the floor behind the front seat and triumphantly headed home.
Man I am feeling good. I have caught a live wild tom turkey bare handed.
Perilous journey
A mile or so on highway 24 that rascal tried to jump-flop his way out the back window. He started flopping those wings and I learned how much mud I had failed to get off. The next flop landed him dead center on the steering wheel. I had a face full of turkey butt feathers and got the car stopped just as it slid into a big sweet gum tree on the road's edge. A busted head light and dented right fender.
Then I did what I should have done to start with. I put the bird in the trunk, moving my gun over to the right and putting the muzzle up against the back seat. I drove off still feeling a lot of pride. I didn't know then and still don't know of anyone else whot has caught a live wild turkey.
It was now past dinner time and I could see Missy Dotsye reaching the boiling point. Maybe she would take one look at my bloody and now scratched up, swol up face, throw her arms around me and tell me how glad she was to see me home alive. Yea! Fat chance.
Suddenly calamity struck again with an ear-splitting double explosion blue smoke and stuff flying in the air. Another screeching stop and when I looked in back I saw a hole in the back seat six inches long and three inches across. There was a concentration of #4 shot holes in the back of the passenger seat.
I started to check on the turkey but figured he couldn't reload that thing. I rolled the windows down to blow the smoke out and headed home. I was giving some thoughts to how big alimony payments could be. Forty years later and my ears are still ringing.
I tried to park the former pretty blue Fairlane so Miss' Dotsye wouldn't see it all at one look. I opened the deck lid and observed one totally addled tom turkey with his toes still hung in the trigger guard. He looked relieved when I cradled him in my arms
Miss Dotsye's face took on a mask of horror as she looked at the car and at me. I stood there grinning as best I could, like a fool, covered with dried mud and blood, a busted lip, two black eyes, a flattened nose and a swol up face hugging a live tom turkey that didn't look real good either.
Dotsye's first statement was classic. "Well it looks like you captured the enemy and won the war but you sure lost the battle." I was too much of a coward to make any reply. She told me to go put my friend away while she got the first aid kit. She never said a word about the car.
New home
I clipped tom's wings so he couldn't fly and put him in our half acre garden with a six foot fence. Folks came from miles around to see the wild turkey and bring-em-back-alive hunter. Tom weighed in at a couple of notches past 21 pounds on the cotton scales. His beard was 101/2 inches long. His spurs were 13/8 inches long and I figure he won many fights with them. He was one fine specimen and would have made a nice trophy.
Three weeks after his capture I got some young boys to rake up limbs and put them in garden. I threatened them with mayhem if they let the turkey out and they swore they hadn't but when I went to feed him he was gone. I found some tracks where he said his goodbyes.
I hope ole tom lived a long life and never became the trophy like I wanted. Some late evenings I imagine him sitting on a limb in a big pine tree with a bunch of young turklets gathered around listening to him tell about his traumatic capture and escape.
Remember I said Miss Dotsye didn't say a word about her car when I came in? Well, she never did except to laugh at me about it. She just went and got herself a new one. That turkey cost me a bunch and it's the best cure for turkey hunten fever I know of.
How many folks you know that in a few hours gets the stew slapped out of em with their own gun, catches a wild turkey bare handed that shoots at him and wrecks his wife's car. I should have a medal for just living through it.
O'yea, I didn't have any alimony payments to make. At this writing, Miss Dotsye has been hanging with me for 52 years.

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