Meridian Star

May 3, 2013

What just happened?

By Otha Barham
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN — Was that spring turkey season? Really? But at least one day the birds were supposed to gobble, with enthusiasm; gusto. Didn't happen. They tipped around like little boys being sought for misbehaving in church; like stray dogs looking for a home; like they were apologizing for something.

    I called in several, but most came sneaking in unannounced and caught me unprepared. They wandered behind bushes or trees, casually searching for me here and there with their minds on something else as if in various stages of inebriation, never even giving me a poor chance to shoot them; accidental evasion as it were. Luck is what they had; all season long. I suppose it balances out with the phenomenal season we had last year.

    Quite suddenly someone said Wednesday was the last day of the season. Already? But I only had one day that broke bright and sunny! Anyway the weather forecast was for “Isolated Showers” for Wednesday so I figured to have part of the day for just me and some of those lethargic toms. When I got to the woods an hour before daylight, one of the isolated storms was storming, and so I took refuge in a deer shoot house, arriving there sloshing water and decked out in rubber boots camo umbrella and rain suit.

    The sun never showed, but after two hours of the isolated downpour, I made a call like a forgotten female turkey, hoping that a gobbler in earshot would laugh hard enough to lose his grip on his limb, fall to the ground and drown; a no-shot kill, you see. Didn't work, but I kept following the advice of all turkey experts and stayed vigilant, searching everywhere through the deluge for any sign of a swimming gobbler.

    After several hours I tired of searching for a turkey and decided to look for something more likely to show; like a caribou. I soon tired of looking for caribou and switched over to staying alert for a wild goat, preferably an ibex. I like their long, sweeping horns and they shouldn't have to stray too far from Asia Minor to get here in Kemper County; about the same distance to where the local turkeys are holing up.

    After six hours of hunting and finding no wart hogs or polar bears, I noticed rabbits and raccoons floating by my blind as a result of the continuation of the isolated shower. I really got concerned when I saw several rocks afloat. Now that is fast rising water folks!

    When it came to me that I had actually come to the woods for turkey hunting and we seemed to be in one of those 40 days and 40 nights things, I sloshed back to my four-wheel-drive truck and after spinning out of two deep ditches (for real) I made my way back to Meridian. The lady in the post office was the first human I saw from those who survived and she seemed surprised when I hugged her, my spontaneous elation at seeing a human being who was actually dry (her clothing, not her personality.)

    As I write, I am quite dry and happy that my house has not floated as yet. Tonight I will sleep in a dry bed, one foot securely tied to a bedpost with a length of rope. Turkey season has ended and I don't want to get up tomorrow morning at three, stagger around and bump into things for an hour and drive out to the woods from force of habit. As a double precaution, I am hiding my truck keys.