By Mike Giles / outdoors writer
“Spring Beckonings: Gobblers call and we must go.” And so goes Otha Barham and his passionate pursuit of the wary wild gobblers as chronicled in his first turkey book. If you know anything about Otha Barham then you know about his passion for hunting and harvesting the wild turkey. For a couple months each year he is stricken with the turkey fever of which there is no cure, except for getting up hours before dawn and traversing half way around the country in search of a gobbler.
Barham’s latest book exposes his passion and innermost thoughts while chasing and harvesting trophy gobblers from around the nation. And yes, on more than one occasion getting whipped by the King of the Woods! But that just stokes his fire even more.
Are you a turkey hunter? Or maybe you’re married to one, or have a child that is stricken with the dreaded disease. While we can only hunt turkeys in Mississippi for a month or so during the spring, we can read about exciting hunts and dream of our future successes, if we only had a book to catch our fancy and hold our attention.
Otha Barham has written just such a book that is filled with stories regaling exciting hunts from days gone by, covering some 40 plus years to the present day. And yes there are accounts of gobbler duels won and lost and of the combatants. While many of those adversaries bit the dust, still other bad birds escaped the passion and enticement of this avid turkey hunter.
Barham’s book is full of stories of his pursuit and conquest of the four sub-species of the gobblers that inhabit the United States and that is an accomplishment in itself. Along the way this avid turkey man has befriended people from all around the country and hunted with virtual unknowns and turkey hunting legends.
Barham spins yarns about the legendary Jack Dudley from DeKalb and hunting with the country boy who eventually ruled the roost of the turkey hunting world when he was crowned the national champion turkey caller. Dudley’s pursuit of excellence inspired other young hunters to reach for the stars and one in particular rose to height’s never seen before in the outdoors world by becoming champion of almost ever calling contest known to man and then making a living calling turkeys. Barham’s book chronicles the birth of Preston Pittman’s passionate turkey calling desire and his connection with the Grand Master himself.
If you enjoy turkey hunting then you’ll surely enjoy reading about Two Face and Sidekick, gobblers that took up much of Barham’s waking hours during multiple turkey seasons. The duo tag teamed the old pro and whipped him and beat him in a duel of death that was repeated almost daily for quite some time. Read about the victors and the defeated.
Still other stories chronicle bad birds such as Beechnut and Gabriel while others spin yarns of master turkey hunters like Chestine Knight and legendary call maker Earl Mickel. There are stories of high country Merriam’s, Osceolas from Florida and Rio Grandes.
Barham’s passionate pursuit is stamped upon the pages of this book which is filled with adventurous outings that spring to life as you read it. Some of the hunts were frustrating, exciting, freezing, triumphant, emotional and all ultimately rewarding to the Turkey Man.
If you are a turkey hunter, or even have an inkling that you want to be one, then you owe it to yourself to give this book a good read for the stories that abound within the covers will give you more than a glimpse of an otherwise mysterious almost hidden world occupied by turkey hunting addicts. Gobblers call and we must go; Barham writes and we must read. It’s just that good. I guarantee!
(Order Spring Beckonings from Otha at 3100 38th Street, Meridian, MS 39305. Send check or money order for $15.95 plus $1.12 tax for Mississippians and $5 shipping and handling for the softback book. Hardback books with dust jacket sell for $22.95 plus $1.61 tax for Mississippians and $5 S&H. These books will be signed or inscribed. Buy signed books at the Meridian Star office.)
Contact Mike Giles at 601-917-3898 or e-mail him at email@example.com