Some Kind of Turkey Hunting Funk


“I don’t have a clue what’s wrong with your head,” replied my doctor after my third visit to the clinic that turkey hunting season. “What exactly are you doing outdoors?”

I made my first visit due to an allergic reaction to chiggers that I’d gotten into during a turkey hunt. My entire back was swollen, red and extremely itchy for weeks. On the second visit a couple of weeks later, I was diagnosed with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever that I contracted from a tick bite during that same turkey hunt. But, luckily, we caught it early and were able to cure it with a round of antibiotics. The reason for the third visit was more of a mystery. I’d been turkey hunting all day and returned home feeling fine. The next morning, I woke up with a headache. When I looked at my reflection in the mirror, I saw to my horror that the right half of my forehead was extremely swollen. My skin wasn’t red or irritated; it was just puffy and filled with fluid. My husband took one look at me and said, “That ain’t right. You need to go to the doctor today.”

My doctor stood there staring at my bulbous head for what seemed like forever. Then she said, “I’ll be right back.” When she returned, she had two other doctors in tow. I’d become a case study. As they gathered around and studied my swollen noggin, my doc explained to them that I’d spent the previous day in the woods turkey hunting. She thought it could be an allergic reaction to something I came in contact with, but my skin was not red or itchy.

None of the doctors had a clue what caused the swelling. So, she officially diagnosed me with having “some kind of turkey hunting funk,” and she told me to go home and see if it got any better over the next few days. If it didn’t, I should return for more evaluation. Luckily, by the next morning, the swelling was gone. To this day, I have no idea what made one half of my forehead swell as it did. I’m just thankful it wasn’t permanent. Have you ever had any odd or unexplainable physical ailments resulting from your hunts? Ever experience any unusual allergic reactions or injuries?