Monday, February 18, 2008

Fixing Up My Turkey Decoys

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All together now. Those of you who are tired of late-winter storms and nasty weather, raise your hand.

Look around, and spot all those folks with their hands in the air. Does it make you feel any better? No, I didn’t think so.

The old saw about “misery loves company,” certainly applies to the weather since our brief thaw. Today with a few lazy flakes of snow drifted down from a pewter-gray sky, feels colder than it is and it’s clear we were lulled into a sense of an early spring. That’s what we get for thinking.

What happened is that Michigan does what it does best: the weather conditions can change on a moment’s notice. Warm, cold, sunny or snow.

The bad thing about the thaw was it didn’t last another few days and get rid of the ice. So, instead of a more positive outlook for steelhead fishing, we are faced with another several days or a week of hard ice and snow, frozen driveways, gusty winds and little else.

It’s days like this that set me to thinking about things that need to be done. One thing that really needs to be done is to make certain my 12-gauge 3-inch magnum 12 gauge is on target. Kay’s Remington 870 pump with the tightest choke possible must be sighted in again to prevent a miss. It sounds like a weekend chore if the wind doesn’t blow too hard.

I remember a rip in one pocket of my turkey hunting vest that allowed a turkey call to fall out last year. I went back the next day to look for it, and sure enough, there it was.

It was right near where the car had been parked. I could still see my tracks, and they were six feet from the box call. Sadly, someone else found the call before me and ran over it with a front tire. So now that hole is sewn shut so such accidents won’t happen again, at least not the same way.

I did a thorough examination today of Henrietta and Sweetheart, my two fold-up hen turkey decoys. Now, Ms. Henrietta is a big flirt, and on more than one occasion a big gobbler has lit into her, flattened her to the ground and attempted to have his way with her. One shot finished the would-be assault.

Her daughter appears to be a bit too worldly for her tender years, and she seems intent on following in her mother’s brazen footsteps. Their attitudes toward longbeards is downright sinful, and their reputations seems just one step from the gutter, but they do seem to have their way with some gobblers. A few longbeards have avoided the two naughty ladies.

Henrietta, her sides slashed by the sharp hooks from elderly gobblers, has been sewed and stapled back together again, and she looks as if she was in a car wreck and went through the front window. Sweatheart has been taken advantage of by lustful gobblers, and I often pair her with Jakie.

Jakie has been in numerous brawls with big gobblers, and has yet to win. I must admit the young lad isn’t much of a fighter, and once watched two adult gobblers put the spurs to his tender young body, and he has been knocked off his stake, been skewered by a stake two or three times, and been pecked about the head and body by hens.

My trio of turkey decoys should be replaced but doing so is much like puttng down a family pet. The two girls and the little jake have been on numerous hunts with me, and other times I carry them in the game pouch of my vest when I decide not to use them, but going out after a hillside monarch without them is like a day without sunshine and warm spring breezes.

These decoys have been through the turkey wars, and all look like they got in a knife fight and were the only ones without a blade. Only once have I seen turkey decoys that looked worse, and they had been folded and carried for so many years in the game pouch, they wouldn’t open up to look like a bird. Once, a hunter run a full load of No. 5 shot through Jakie while a lusty big gobbler stood defiantly on the back side of the decoy. The hunter killed the big Tom and ripped Jake in a bad way.

The shape of these decoys is horrible. The head and tail of his decoys faced west, their middle was flat and creased and faced east, and one had a neck that made the head look like a useless appendage. I told him to stick his decoys back in his hunting vest and never show them to me again.

My decoys may look pretty rough and a bit tattered but they still carry a certain degree of charm. They can toll in a gobbler from several hundred yards, and when I’m ready to go, so are they.

One can’t ask for more from two battered hens and a crippled jake decoy. They work well which is why I probably won’t replace them this year. They’ve earned my trust. and even though the girls are lusty things, all three work hard to maintain a warm place in my basement to rest while cold winter winds blow.

Posted by Dave Richey on 02/18 at 01:15 PM
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