American Hunter - April 2010 - 54

adventure

Reflections on a Marvelous Madness
Gobblers can humble us, baffle us and make fools of us—all of which is why turkey hunting is so wonderfully alluring.
ver a half century ago Archibald Rutledge, who was one of turkey hunting’s greatest writers, paused and pondered the turkey hunter’s lot after killing his 339th gobbler. He wrote, “Turkey hunting has been with me a kind of religion ever since a hatchet was a hammer … perhaps I have learned a little of the art.” Turkey hunting isn’t a science, as that implies precision and exactitude. It’s an art, sure enough. “Yet,” Rutledge continued, “after a half-century of hunting the noblest game bird that graces America’s wild, I am going to confess that I am still in the kindergarten.” The pursuit of a woodland education such as Rutledge mentioned forms a recurrent theme in the literature of turkey hunting, although few writers are honest enough to admit as much. In the subtitle of Turkey Hunting with Charlie Elliott, written by one of the most popular sporting scribes of the second half of the 20th century, Elliott

O

By Jim Casada

calls himself “The Old Professor.” A book by Frank Hanenkrat, a noted Virginia hunter and callmaker, carries the title The Education of a Turkey Hunter, and numerous other works allude to the learning experience. On a personal level, I have killed more than 250 gobblers and I’m a genuine recovering university professor, yet honesty compels me to admit that I don’t know doodley-squat when it comes to turkey hunting. About all I am certain of is that it is a sport where there are no certainties. My personal sense of profound inadequacy as a turkey hunter does nothing to diminish my dedication to the sport. That theme of singular

dedication, stretching to extraordinary dimensions, forms another common thread in the sport’s literature. The best-known book of turkey hunting’s poet laureate, Tom Kelly, is Tenth Legion. Its title comes from the Tenth Legion of the Roman Army, a matchless military force that stood fast against barbarian hordes for centuries. Over generations the soldiers forming the Tenth Legion’s ranks became a cult, a breed apart, and their feats have become a touchstone for unstinting commitment. Kelly rightly suggests that turkey hunters and members of the Tenth Legion share numerous traits, such as devotion verging on mental imbalance, viewing their endeavors as a near-religious experience and having a pronounced tendency for uncontrollable compulsion. Other book titles, such as Brad Day’s Severe Gobbler Disorder, Donald Devereaux Jarrett’s Compositions of a Sickness, Gene Nunnery’s I Will Lift up Mine Eyes unto the Hills and my personal favorite, Phil Phillips’ The Grand Obsession, also reflect these characteristics. Perhaps even more revealing than a brief brush with some of the sport’s literature are insights this writer has garnered over the course of more than three decades as a turkey hunter. Those years embrace deep immersion in the sport’s literature, accumulation of a library large and costly enough to stretch the bounds of marital harmony, opportunities to venture afield with dozens of the nation’s leading callers and turkey-hunting personalities and devoting somewhere between 45 and 75 days

54

American Hunter ■  April 2010



American Hunter - April 2010

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Hunter - April 2010

American Hunter - April 2010
Contents
Says You
Armed Citizen
Standing Guard
President’s Column
Bloomberg to Obama: Take “Federal Action”
First Light
Know-How
Gundogs
Gobblers in Paradise
New Guns and Gear Preview
Members’ 2009 Photo Album
Reflections on Turkey Madness
Hornady Superformance
Federal Premium HW 20-Ga.
Gear
Political Report
ILA Report
Member Info & Benefits
Regional Report
NRA Board Spotlight
NRA Woman’s Voice
Member’s Hunt
American Hunter - April 2010 - American Hunter - April 2010
American Hunter - April 2010 - Cover2
American Hunter - April 2010 - 1
American Hunter - April 2010 - Contents
American Hunter - April 2010 - 3
American Hunter - April 2010 - 4
American Hunter - April 2010 - 5
American Hunter - April 2010 - 6
American Hunter - April 2010 - 7
American Hunter - April 2010 - Says You
American Hunter - April 2010 - 9
American Hunter - April 2010 - Armed Citizen
American Hunter - April 2010 - 11
American Hunter - April 2010 - Standing Guard
American Hunter - April 2010 - 13
American Hunter - April 2010 - President’s Column
American Hunter - April 2010 - 15
American Hunter - April 2010 - Bloomberg to Obama: Take “Federal Action”
American Hunter - April 2010 - 17
American Hunter - April 2010 - 18
American Hunter - April 2010 - 19
American Hunter - April 2010 - 20
American Hunter - April 2010 - 21
American Hunter - April 2010 - First Light
American Hunter - April 2010 - 23
American Hunter - April 2010 - 24
American Hunter - April 2010 - 25
American Hunter - April 2010 - 26
American Hunter - April 2010 - 27
American Hunter - April 2010 - Know-How
American Hunter - April 2010 - 29
American Hunter - April 2010 - Gundogs
American Hunter - April 2010 - 31
American Hunter - April 2010 - Gobblers in Paradise
American Hunter - April 2010 - 33
American Hunter - April 2010 - 34
American Hunter - April 2010 - 35
American Hunter - April 2010 - New Guns and Gear Preview
American Hunter - April 2010 - 37
American Hunter - April 2010 - 38
American Hunter - April 2010 - 39
American Hunter - April 2010 - 40
American Hunter - April 2010 - 41
American Hunter - April 2010 - 42
American Hunter - April 2010 - 43
American Hunter - April 2010 - 44
American Hunter - April 2010 - 45
American Hunter - April 2010 - 46
American Hunter - April 2010 - 47
American Hunter - April 2010 - Members’ 2009 Photo Album
American Hunter - April 2010 - 49
American Hunter - April 2010 - 50
American Hunter - April 2010 - 51
American Hunter - April 2010 - 52
American Hunter - April 2010 - 53
American Hunter - April 2010 - Reflections on Turkey Madness
American Hunter - April 2010 - 55
American Hunter - April 2010 - Hornady Superformance
American Hunter - April 2010 - 57
American Hunter - April 2010 - Federal Premium HW 20-Ga.
American Hunter - April 2010 - 59
American Hunter - April 2010 - Gear
American Hunter - April 2010 - 61
American Hunter - April 2010 - Political Report
American Hunter - April 2010 - 63
American Hunter - April 2010 - ILA Report
American Hunter - April 2010 - 65
American Hunter - April 2010 - Regional Report
American Hunter - April 2010 - NRA Board Spotlight
American Hunter - April 2010 - 66a
American Hunter - April 2010 - 67a
American Hunter - April 2010 - 66b
American Hunter - April 2010 - 67b
American Hunter - April 2010 - 66c
American Hunter - April 2010 - 67c
American Hunter - April 2010 - 66d
American Hunter - April 2010 - 67d
American Hunter - April 2010 - NRA Woman’s Voice
American Hunter - April 2010 - 69
American Hunter - April 2010 - 70
American Hunter - April 2010 - 71
American Hunter - April 2010 - Member’s Hunt
American Hunter - April 2010 - Cover3
American Hunter - April 2010 - Cover4
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