My old friend Rich Abdoler has lost some of his grizzled old veteran

outdoorsman status by killing a measly little ol' five-pound turkey! 

My old friend Rich Abdoler has lost some of his grizzled old veteran
outdoorsman status by killing a measly little ol' five-pound turkey!  That's
the smallest wild turkey I ever heard of.  And it isn't just the size of the
thing, it is the way he bagged it.  Seems that last week Rich was sitting on
a creek bank late in the evening, thinking a flock of young turkeys was
roosting nearby, and he might ambush one as it passed from field to timber.
As the sun sank low, here comes this lone turkey, and he hops up on a
leaning tree that protrudes from the high bank out over the creek.

Now first of all, none of us grizzled old outdoorsmen will shoot a
turkey off the roost.  Granted, I did shoot a gobbler off a limb last spring
but it was almost midday, and he wasn't about to go to sleep, he just had
been chased up there by a young coyote.  That¹s different.  And that gobbler
had it coming.

The young turkey which caught Rich's eye obviously was headed out to
the end of the tree to roost, and get a good night¹s sleep. It might well be
that he heard Rich calling and was trying to find his lost siblings, but no
turkey walks out on a leaning tree and heads for the branch-end of it unless
he is turning in for the night.  In fact, I have never heard of a wild
turkey walking up a tree trunk in my life, and that alone would make a
hunter hesitant to shoot it.  Turkeys don¹t do that, they fly up to their

When a gobbler gets big and heavy, it is a job for it to fly up to a branch
high overhead, so many of them walk up a steep hillside overlooking a creek
or river, and then pitch off to a tree limb which is a little below them.
That may be the only thing a wild turkey does that can be called smart, or
even semi-smart.  All in all, they are not very bright creatures.

A young turkey which is seen walking up a leaning tree trunk might be
displaying a certain amount of smartness, or maybe he is so young he can¹t
fly yet!! Rich chose to think he was smart, and didn¹t give a second thought
to clobbering him with a load of number 4s from his twelve gauge.  Where he
made his real mistake was telling me about it, and telling me it only
weighed five pounds. After all, I am an outdoor writer, closely akin to a
journalist, and reporting on such things is my business.

Anyway, you can¹t technically say that Rich shot a turkey off the
roost as he claims the young five-pounder he shot was walking up the trunk
and did not have his feet set on a limb yet.  If there has ever been a wild
turkey killed walking up a tree, I have never heard of it, but then again,
the older you get, the more unusual things you see.

But I feel sorry for him on this occasion because when he eats that young
turkey, which, when cleaned probably surrendered only about two pounds of
meat, he is going to think of the money he spent on that tag and realize it
would have bought three or four chickens at the local super market which
would have been comparable in size.