Spring turkey season here in northwest Wyoming is winding down, and I'm not a happy camper. I had high hopes of causing the demise of one of the gobblers that attacked me in my driveway last year. Evidently that will not happen.
Let me explain. Last spring, I was working in the woodpile next to the house and a BLM ranger drives up and asks if I'd seen any turkeys gone berserk. I had no idea what he was talking about. He explained that a neighbor down the road said he'd been attacked by two gobblers. The birds ran him into the garage. I was shaking my head in disbelief when the game warden drives up. He repeated the story and said the man being attacked was worked up and running around with a .22, looking for the birds.
The next morning, Madonna was backing out of the driveway when she saw a small bunch of turkeys walking up the road. It was a picture-perfect day, five inches of fresh snow that painted a winter wonderland. I was standing on the porch and she yelled at me to get my camera to photograph the birds. She pulled back in the driveway, and I walked out to the road and began taking pictures. I saw two gobblers, one with a seven inch beard or so, and the other with a three inch beard. Both were strutting with a few hens, and I saw full fans in the tails, indicating adult birds, and not jakes. They continued walking toward me, and when they were 25 or so yards out, they broke into a run and charged straight at me. So help me, this is true. I wasn't believing this, and realized this could turn out not good. The gobblers ran at me, and the bigger one actually jumped toward my head, flapping wildly. The smaller gobbler ran around excitedly. So there I was, swinging and kicking at this crazy turkey, and scoring no direct hits. Once he pecked me on the chest. My pickup was parked a couple yards away. I backed up toward it, continually defending myself with rights, lefts, uppercuts, but no points on the scoreboard. The turkeys were winning. I was able to ease into the truck and I almost slammed that turkeys head in the door, but I missed. So now I'm in the truck with the turkeys running around, clucking and making whatever sounds that attack turkeys make. Unbeknown to me, Madonna was standing inside the garage, tossing chunks of wood and whatever she could find at the birds. She was not laughing. Finally, the assault was over, and the wildass birds walked away. I took the picture you see here after the dust, I mean the snow, had settled.
So I called the game warden and told him my story. I was exceedingly happy that Madonna had seen it all to confirm the battle. Kinda like seeing a UFO by yourself and having no other witnesses. You hesitate to repeat the story for fear of being regarded as a lunatic. I had to go to town and when I returned I saw the warden. He had investigated, and he too was charged by the turkeys several times. He called another warden to bring a net to hopefully capture the gobblers and transplant them to an area that had no houses. I accompanied them up the mountain, following the turkey tracks in deep snow. We spotted them ahead, but they immediately ran up the mountain, behaving like wild turkeys are supposed to behave.
The next morning, the warden knocks on my door. He's all smiles. He has captured the biggest gobbler and asks if I want to go along as he releases it. We drove several miles away and I watched the nasty bird trot away.
Turkey season opened soon, but it was a limited entry unit, which meant youhad to draw a tag in a lottery. I had no tag, so I couldn't hunt the birds and get my revenge. This year, the Game and Fish Department made this region a "general area" which meant you could buy a tag over the counter. Throughout the winter the smaller gobbler was seen frequently. I was dedicated to get this bird, but I was out of town when the season opened. Then came the news that someone shot a gobbler down the road. Was it my bird? I don't know, but there's a good chance it was. I went into severe depression, had to take anxietymedication, and temporarily became bi-polar. Well, not exactly, but let's say I really really wanted to tie my tag on that birds's dead leg.
So what turned these birds into feathered crazies? The warden indicated, and I agreed, that the turkeys had no doubt been fed by people throughout the winter and had become accustomed to humans.
Stuff happens. Murphy lurks. Story of my life, sometimes.