Friday, May 25, 2007

Wither Spring?

I woke two minutes before the 4 o'clock alarm the way we hunters do late in the spring turkey season, and made the New Hampshire farm at about perfect time, only to see a big hen in one of the foggy fields a half hour before legal sunrise, a bird that later answered my yelps from that hilly rise, but only in a sort of courtesy way like, "I'm here, right here." (That's put in for all of you who cringe at anthropomorphic references regarding a gamebird with a brain the size of a hickory nut.)

Anyhow, though I pussyfooted around where I had three gobblers hammering just two days ago (two on this side of the river; one on the other), there was silence. It stayed that way as the day warmed (they're calling for 90+ F. on this edge of Memorial Day weekend). I talked to yet another hen later on in the pine-shadowed woods, and as I drove the road to look at the hayed off fields, saw yet another out bugging. No gobblers, no gobbling, at all . . .

It was the kind of foggy, steamy, warming morning that used to see me flipping rocks in the shallows to catch softshelled crayfish to use as bait for Pennsylvania river smallmouth and trout . . .

--Steve Hickoff

(Steve Hickoff photo)