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Turkeys both men and bird and a Peanutbutter power bar

It was a glorious spring morning (5:35AM) as Brian and I set forth into the Berkshires to hunt the ever elusive and weary Wild Turkey. We had our slate calls, our gobbling devices and every other sort of Turkey call or lure under the sun. We set up in a higher elevation where we had discovered some positive sign the prior day during our prescouting expedition. Hunting Turkey with a longbow is a difficult challenge.

Turkey's eyes are well equipped to detect even the most subtle of movement. We had to blend in with our cover and move with extreme caution as we readied an arrow to launch.

We took turns using our calls and other gadgets for nearly three hours with not so much as a peep back. Now I had touted this place as a goldmine for Turkey hunting based on all the birds I had seen last fall and the abundance of sign.

Well, we found the sign and tracks etc, but not a single bird. Brian gave me a look of displeasure which was clear despite the twenty yards separating us. I shrugged my shoulders and called a few more times; silence and a few birds were the only reply. Brian stood up and walked over to where I was crouched.

"They should be here! The scat is everywhere, it's mid morning, and the Toms should be moving." he announced with as much confusion as I felt.

We moved our hunt higher up the foothill following a creek that was about twenty feet across and seemed to rundown the entire foothill emptying into the lake at the foot of Tower Mountain. After fifteen minutes of hiking uphill we made a discovery; very large feline tracks, bigger than my open hand print.
This is the time when the sane person, the normal person possessing even an ounce of common sense would reverse course in the opposite direction.

But where would this tale be if Brian and I were normal or had any common sense? We'd be back at the lodge eating a "Hungry man Special" breakfast in the company of all those lovely young female birdwatchers from the Audubon Society. But NO! We're out here planning our next course of stupidity.

I forget which one of us made the moronic suggestion of tracking the cat, but I remember the idea popping into my head as soon as we discovered the tracks and the trail. So, off we go, armed with only our longbows and lack of common sense to follow a cat that had feet the size of a teacup plate.

I remember how excited we both were as we stalked this animal and identified several patterns and clues as to how it was moving and why. We would have made Marlin Perkins (Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom) proud. We followed this trail for over an hour and were nearing the top of Tower Mountain when we decided to have lunch.

We sat on a large outcropping of rock and broke out the leftover hamburgers and power bars. We were both starving but chatted like two old ladies at a bingo parlor as we set out our food. As Brian led us in saying "Grace", his "Amen" was interrupted by a very loud and low pitched growl.

The hairs on the back of my head literally stood up and a nervous tingle shot up my spine. I glanced up at Brian and he was obviously experiencing something similar. We both slowly turned our heads to see the biggest freakin Cougar I'd ever come across.

Since this was the third one I've encountered that really isn't saying much, but it was easily as long as a German Shepard and just as tall. Its grey tail slowly whipped back and forth like an agitated Cobra. I glanced over at my bow and suddenly wished it was a shotgun. Well, there the three of us sat, looking at each other.
When faced with these situations, I usually try and talk my way out of trouble. I addressed the cat in my most friendly voice, like I was addressing a dog.

Then I tossed a hamburger patty at it which it sniffed and downed in one gulp. Brian immediately followed with another hamburger which it scarfed without hesitation. After feeding the cat our stash of four hamburger patties, we hoped it would simply go away. Well it didn't. Brian had managed to reach his longbow and had an arrow knocked. I had half an uneaten peanut butter power bar in my pack which I unwrapped and casually tossed in the cat's direction.

I can only assume the cat expected another burger, it inhaled the offering like a vacuum cleaner. Well, Cougars don't have a taste for power bars, this cat was no exception. It had bitten into it and was not happy, but the gooey half melted power bar was stuck in its teeth and the poor thing was having a miserable time. It pawed at its mouth for several seconds, growling in frustration as the taste of synthetic peanut butter assailed its primitive senses. I sat there holding my breath until the cat finally took off in frustration forgetting all about us. After we both relieved our bladders and bowels behind a few trees, we sat there counting our blessings.

Neither one of us we're in a hurry to head back toward the lodge because that's the general direction in which our angered friend was heading. After a brief debate we followed the tracks another fifty yards (the tracks were heading away from our feline friend) when the tracks veered back toward us. We can only assume that we were careless of the ever-changing wind patterns (No big surprise there) and ignored a shifting wind, the updraft alerted the cat to our presence and it circled around and was stalking us. God only knows what would have happened if we hadn't stopped to eat when we did and this thing got the jump on us in the scrub. IT was well past noon, and one cannot hunt wild turkey after noon, it was time to head back to the lodge.

Now I freely confess to losing my sense of comfort knowing that Catzilla was still lumbering around out there probably pissed off at the both of us, yes we imparted human emotion to the cat. We both knocked our bows and moved very slowly and quietly down the creek bank since it had the most open space and would give us the best chance of a killing shot if things took another turn for the worse. They didn't and after almost two hours of nervous creeping out of the woods we made it back to the lodge.

The tale we told was slightly different, omitting the nervousness and the slight recklessness of our ill planned stalk. I wanted to write a letter to the manufacturer of power bars figuring our tale of woe would make a great commercial and make us famous.

"Power bars saved our skin, when you hit the trails; make Power Bars your traveling companion." I could envision a whole marketing campaign, hek, maybe even a dramatic reenactment of our plight !! Brian chose not to have that kind of fame; it didn't take much convincing to make me see his point of view. But, when I go back up to the Berkshires this fall, I will have a peanut butter flavored power bar along with my 357 Magnum. Who knows, this still could lead to something.

Be well

. About the Author .None.

By: Gregory J. Ballan


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