The great turkey hunt
September is already behind us, with its very warm days and nights and, at other times, quite cold, and some torrential rains. It’s been like most Septembers around here, only the temperature fluctuations this year have been more drastic, and the thunderstorms have been more ferocious, felling trees and scattering branches and scaring children and dogs.
And now, as we stumble upon pumpkins and foliage and the eventual Jack Frost of October, we’re hurtling straight into the start of The Hunt’s big season. The first day of the next month comes the seasons for the coyote (until March 26), the grouse (until February 28), the pheasant (until February 28), the bear (until December 20) and the deer (until January 1), among others. , open. All but deer can be shot with firearms, but for deer it’s a bit more complicated. Bow season runs from October 1 to November 18, crossbow from November 5 to 18, muzzleloader from December 12 to 20 and December 26 to January 1, shotgun from November 19 to 11 December and late bowhunting along with muzzleloaders from December 12 to 20 and December 26 to January 1. There are also weekends for children.
The Great Turkey Hunt takes place from October 15 to 28, from sunrise to sunset. This hunt is a beautiful dance, and very often the sharp-eyed turkey wins. That’s sad, because if you’ve ever indulged in a wild turkey, you’ll be in trouble with Butterballs from then on.
Native to North America, the wild turkey probably got its name from the domesticated variety that was imported to Britain from the Levant, which the British associated with turkey and remembered when they landed in the New World at Plymouth and Jamestown and discovered a large many of them running. These North American birds are eastern wild turkeys, and their range in the 18th and 19th centuries was from Maine to Florida and west to Minnesota, Illinois, and Missouri. They numbered around five million at the time, but were hunted down in the early 20th century and nearly disappeared, only to be brought back by intense capture and transfer programs in the US and Canada. By 1973, the US turkey population had increased again, to over a million. The Great Turkey Hunt resumed.
The turkey is a fast and agile flier, usually hovering low to the ground for no more than a quarter of a mile. His gobble, however, will take four times that distance. Turkeys are omnivores; they prefer acorns and nuts, but settle for seeds, berries, juniper, leaves, fern leaves, roots, and insects, reptiles, and grass. They often forage alongside deer and squirrels, each seeking out common predators with their particular strengths: keen deer hearing; the powerful eyes of the turkey and the haughty gaze of the squirrel from above.
In fact, Benjamin Franklin wanted Tom to be the “Representative of our country…because Turkey really is in comparison.” [to the Bald Eagle] a far more respectable bird, and at the same time a true original native of America…Moreover, though a little vain and foolish, he is a bird of valor, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guard who dared to invade your farm. Yard in Red Coat,” he wrote in January 1794.
The haughty eagle ended up on the national coat of arms, while the humble turkey ended up on the dining room table.