Steve Hickoff is the Realtree Turkey Hunting Editor and Blogger. He’s been beaten by more birds than he can remember. Still he kills enough to eat well, and fool with beards, spurs and fans until the next season. Pennsylvania born and raised, Maine is his home base now. A full-time outdoor communicator with a couple university writing degrees, he chases spring gobblers and fall flocks around the country. It's "all turkeys, all the time" on the Realtree Turkey Blog.
Enough of the Turkey Hunting Trash Talk
Sometimes the way we talk about turkeys is as important as how we hunt them.
Give the gobbler a dirt nap.
Jelly that head.
Drop a hammer on that turkey’s noggin’.
We’re a long way from the 20th Century when this sort of talk in turkey camp would get you a cold stare and possibly banned from the place the next time the season came around. You would have sounded like a certifiable goofball talking like that.
Growing up in north-central Pennsylvania where I first turkey hunted decades ago, nobody talked like this. If anything, the older guys (my age now) praised the bird for being so tough to hunt; so elusive.
“That longbeard gave me a good old-fashioned ass kickin’,” they’d smile with great pride.
Now it seems almost a requirement in some loud-mouthed circles: put the turkey down in no uncertain terms. Talk down and brag about your obvious awesomeness over the bird you’re trying to hunt or have just killed. It strikes me as fairly stupid, even desperate for attention.
Maybe I’m just a veteran (grizzled) turkey hunter who learned to respect America’s greatest game bird, but this sort of bravado and trash talking sort of sets my teeth to grinding a bit.
I mean seriously guys (and girls), what’s the point in bad mouthing a turkey gobbler? I don’t get it. This sort of thing strikes me as unnecessary posturing, stuff better suited for a high school football game or some other athletic event that relies on psyching out your opponent. Even then, what’s the point? Play the game.
If anything we should reflect on the amazing thing the wild turkey hunting tradition is and especially on the birds themselves: fairly quietly if we can, with respect, even — okay I’ll say it — reverence.
Yeah, true enough, wild turkeys don’t really care if you call them names or disrespect them with all this slang talk and chattering nonsense. They’re just trying to stay alive and make other turkeys and find a good limb to sleep on at night.
But some other turkey hunters do. Do you?
Steve Hickoff is Realtree's turkey hunting editor and blogger.