Bird of Contrast


Turkey Tom


The wild turkey’s appearance is a contrast in beauty and ugliness. To see the sun play on their lovely, iridescent feathers of copper, bronze, tan and black and then behold that crinkly bare head with drooping snood and globular caruncles makes you wonder how such beauty and repugnance ever came together. But after the initial shock is past you realize they’re so ugly they’re beautiful.

They are a contrast in degree of challenge to hunt too. One hunt may be ridiculously easy. A long spurred tom gobbles in response to you first call and in a few minutes he struts, all puffed up, tail fanned and wings dragging, in front of you gun. On the next hunt you can’t even get a tom to gobble or if you do it moves away from you. Or a vocal tom will gobble all day in response to your call but never take a step toward you. And this scenario can play out repeatedly bringing you to the limit of exhaustion and exasperation but at the same time cement your determination not to give up on the tom that’s got under your skin. The unpredictable nature of the hunt is much of the appeal. If it was always easy, few people would bother.

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