Katie McCarthy: The incessant call of turkey season

March 14, 2013 

It’s almost turkey hunting season.

How do I know this, you ask?

I could have looked it up online or heard about it on the radio or read it in a magazine. But I didn't.

What happened was, a few weeks ago, alarming sounds started emanating from the far side of my house.

Scratches, warbles, squeaks.

I should clarify: these sounds no longer actually alarm me, though they might cause some people to at least raise an eyebrow.

But I know that it's just my husband, elbow deep in his stash of turkey calls.

Have you ever heard a turkey call?

That's a loaded question -- there are lots of different turkey calls. I know this now. And I assure you, none of them sound like "gobble gobble."

It's been established that my husband is a hunter ("country boy," if you will) and I am not ("city girl," as he calls me). After watching "Duck Dynasty," which it seems everybody does these days, I've started taking notes from Miss Kay because I've got a bona fide Phil on my hands (minus the beard, though perhaps not for long).

The straight face. The dry sense of humor. The inclination to hunt any and every thing that moves.

While my husband does duck hunt, and he owns more than one Duck Commander call, it's the sound of that other large game bird that sends chills down my spine.

Every March the particularly loud art of turkey calling fills my home, frightening my dog and giving me a headache.

I have a relatively low threshold for turkey sounds and, to his credit, the husband usually takes it outside when I plead with him to stop.

But it's more than just the noise. I also have an irrational -- though oddly inconsistent -- fear of birds.

I attribute this to the DisneyWorld seagull who assaulted my 13-year-old funnel-cake-bearing hand, leaving a cold, wet feeling on my fingers and a trail of powered sugar in its wake.

I also place some blame on the cockatiel my brother had when we were kids. Bubba was a nice bird until one day he just wasn't. He bit me. Trust was broken.

The inconsistency is that I have two bird feeders in my backyard -- one for hummingbirds, one for songbirds -- and I make sure they stay full. I also love owls and penguins -- which I justify by the fact that the latter lacks the fundamental element of my fear, flight. The former I just find fascinating.

I keep my distance, though, by safely viewing from my kitchen the one's I welcome into the backyard and generally steering clear of the rest.

Turkeys, though tasty, harbor the unpredictable temperament I associate with most birds and I find it best not to tempt them into chasing me. I also avoid up-close encounters with chickens and geese for this reason.

But if my husband brings home a turkey, I'll help him clean, cook and eat it -- just as long as I don't have to help him call it in.

Katie McCarthy, kmccarthy@ledger-enquirer.com or 706-571-8515.

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