Thursday, January 18, 2018

November-December 2014 – Message from the Guildmaster

December 15, 2014 by  
Filed under Message from the Guildmaster

Midway between Thanksgiving and Christmas is a really busy time for lots of us. We had ten for Thanksgiving counting twin two year old boys and a seven year old brother- creating Bedlam South. Normally they live 100 miles North in Bedlam. The zip code for Bedlam follows the boys. We had a traditional turkey dinner prepared by Daughter-in-law Stacy with a bird bought from the market. I always wanted to try wild turkey for a change. Regina said she would do her wifely duties if I can kill one, so I’ve been trying.

New Jersey re-introduced wild turkeys in the southern counties back in the mid eightys about 100 miles away. Then a couple of years later into the central part of the state where we live. First hunts required permits on designated State or Federal land. Area closest to me was Fort Dix so a buddy and I applied and got tags. We had viewed videos of turkey hunting, studied for Jake droppings, improved our calls all in anticipatian of opening day. We had seen how scary the wild birds were, how keen their eyesight and how rapidly they could explode into flight! Wary quarry. My buddy Bill Harris and I had both made 20 gauge Flintlock fowlers for something more to shoot and planned to go in longhunter clothing with obligated a patch of orange.

A Spring turkey season shoot in April was planned- dawn to noon. We investigated the territory a week ahead, unarmed, to test our primitive calls. They worked and we had a couple of toms come visit. With much anticipation opening day before daylight we are back in place, heard the roosting birds leave their perches with their wings breaking branches as they flew to the ground to feed. Turkey calls louder than our primitives’, croak and gobble. Bang. Bang. Then silence. Never saw a bird.

The next year, Sunday morning before turkey opening day, I walked down the sandy lane from our house and I saw turkey tracks at the end near the County road. Aha! I thought that Bill had “snuck-over” and made those tracks knowing my habit for getting the paper in the morning. I met Bill in the dark at the Ft. Dix spot next morning and confronted him for trying to trick me. He denied it. We got same results and drove back to my house and investigated the tracks. They were real!


The not-so-wild turkeys now mock Dick Toone from the dining room window.

Bill nor I ever did try hunting them in season again. Next thing we both had birds in our yards and all the sport seemed lost. Now we have to wait for turkeys crossing the lane driving to the road, shoo them out of the bird feeder, and this year saw a brood of four hatch in the tall field grass next to our lawn. Except this Fall! So still no wild turkey for Thanksgiving.

For those of you still looking for a gift for a special person, I suggest signing him up for a membership in the Honourable Company of Horners. If he’s already a member make sure he gets a Hartley book. A deluxe gift that no longrifle enthusiast should be without is Art DeCamp’s hard bound book, Pennsylvania “Horns of the Trade” Screw-tip Powder Horns and Their Architecture. It is must reading. Call him at 814-643-6343 to order.

Merry Christmas to all and I hope that the year 2015 will be a happy and healthy one.

Dick Toone, Guildmaster


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