Pennsylvania Game News - March 2012 - 17
Two for a Turkey
By Paul A. Matthews
artwork by steve wilson
F A MAN is lucky and if he lives long enough, he’ll reach a point where all he has left are the memories of years gone by. My last hunting season was in 1993. There were two reasons for this: First, the lands I had hunted on dating back to the 1930s were now posted and, second, I had become deeply involved in competitive shooting with black powder cartridge rifles, namely .45-90, .45-70, .40-65, at ranges between 200 meters and 1,000 yards. We were shooting two matches a month during the summer, and one match a month during the winter. With my practice, I was burning about a case or more of black powder a year. It was a great sport, and I would sometimes do more shooting in a 1-day match than I would do in an entire year of hunting. Regardless of what your memories are about, though, when you reach that age of living in memories, you want to be able to call up an incident from the past and relive it with a clarity that fills your soul with warmth and gratitude. My brother Ernie passed away in
February 2009, and if my memories of him each filled a 12-quart bucket, there wouldn’t be room in the house for furniture. Ernie loved to hunt turkeys. He loved being in the woods with his Winchester Model 12 and his turkey call, trying to coax one of the big birds within range. I loved being in the woods, too, so much so that my idea of hunting was to leave the house in the morning just after breakfast and get back at night in time for supper. More than that, no matter if it was for big or small game, the rifle as opposed to the shotgun was always my choice. Oh, yes, there was a time in my life when I often reached for my side-byside 12-gauge Lefever, but early in the 1970s, when I purchased a Ruger No. 3 single-shot chambered for the .22 Hornet, I stood the shotgun in the corner and never used it again. Now this did put a crimp on some of my hunting, because the rifle was not legal for spring turkey season.