The Wild White Turkey

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Call me Ishmael... On second thought, call me Paul.   I do have something in common with the Moby Dick character, though.  We are both in search of our white prey, but not sure how to capture it!  Sightings of a white turkey began last year.  When I heard the reports, I laughed these people off as hallucinating, drinking too much, or having a mild case of the bird flu.

About 2 weeks before this turkey season, I topped a hill in my truck and running across the gravel road was the great white turkey.  I sped to the bottom of the hill to see if I could make out anything unusual (other than the color) of the bird.  All I got was a glimpse of its back as the turkey quickly waddled away through the underbrush.  Some feather tips were colored, giving it the appearance of silver and black stripes.  I didn't make out if it was a tom or hen.  I was concentrating on the markings.

After some research, I found hat it is not unheard of to find a white turkey in the great outdoors.  Some are albino and completely white, while others share a combination of markings from a typical wild turkey.  The dispute is where the white comes from.  There haven't been any domesticated turkeys in my area for probably 30 years.  Is it possible this recessive gene has been hanging around for half a century, or is it a naturally occurring phenomena?

The other question is, do you shoot it?  I pictured a scenario where I was afforded a shot at 2 similar Toms... one white, one natural colors.  If the bird were completely white, a mount would look like you shot a skinny domestic turkey!  On the other hand, a white one with stripes would be a real conversation starter.

So, what are your thoughts?  Is it a cross with a domestic bird?  Which would you shoot?

In the mean time, I will be keeping my eyes peeled and sharpening my harpoon!

Anticipating Spring Goodies

It has been a mild winter, and spring is springing!  This is a time of anticipation for me.  The peach and pear trees have lost their blooms.  The apple trees are covered with white and pink petals.  I will have to wait a while to harvest those tasty fruits, but there are a few morsels that are in season.

That cool morning air, the wet dew covered grass, fog hangs over ponds and in the valleys.  Birds chirp as the sun rises and off in the distance a Tom turkey can no longer hold back amorous feelings...  Gobblegobblegobble!  Crank up the sound in this video, you will hear him beyond the fog covered pond.

Pointy asparagus spears are poking their way through grass along the fence rows.  In the woods, dew drips from branches to the woody forest floor where a new morel mushroom has emerged. The musty smell of earth being turned over for planting hangs in the damp air like a promise.  Soon there will be fresh, earthy goodness to eat.   I will watch, listen, and smell until they are ready.   The anticipation is killing me!

Hunting Season Approaches

It has been an extremely dry year in my area.  There have been rains to the North and rains to the South, but we have remained dry as the storms passed around us.  The warm weather has been hard on crops and hay.  It seems however, to have been friendly to the local wildlife.  For the first time in quite a few years, I am seeing lots of turkeys and coveys of quail.  The corn is almost dry, beans are starting to turn, and the whitetail deer are jumping out in front of me constantly as I make my way down gravel roads.  While the hunting prospects look good here in Salt Creek Township, my mind is somewhere else.  As the wild ducks begin their migration in, I am planning my migration out.

My buddy, "Rooster", has been egging me on for years.  "We ain't gettin' any younger", he would say.  "Every year we talk about it, but we never go", he would complain.  I would agree with him, but nothing further would come of it... until this year.  With the invite from one of Rooster's compadres, we are finally taking action.  We are heading out to the mountains of Colorado for an elk hunt!

I have been in the mountains before.  Skiing in Utah and New Mexico was not bad.  Chasing Chukkar Partridge up and down shale cliffs in Idaho was a workout, but this is 20 years later folks!  The thought of chasing elk over 12,000 foot mountains has my lungs a little nervous.  I walk between 6 and 10 miles a day, six days a week.  My legs should be OK. Thin air is my biggest concern.

Stay tuned as I prepare for a return trip to the Rockies next month.  There is a lot to do!