Turkeys, trout and hockey: A sleepless month of May

Steve PiattThis spring is shaping up to be the perfect storm in terms of sleep deprivation, at least during the month of May when my focus is almost solely on pursuing spring gobblers.

The key word here is almost. Because while I am, in fact, consumed by turkey hunting, maintaining steady employment ranks fairly high on the list as well, and that means producing an issue of New York Outdoor News every two weeks – including during May, when I tend to lean on my stable of top-notch freelance writers and my graphic design gurus a little heavier than at other times of the year.

Too, this spring has shaped up incredibly well for some early trout fishing. That possibility is usually non-existent up here in April, and Paula and I took advantage of the early ice-out on April 1 to trudge into a backcountry brook trout pond for some serious fishing, the kind even the veteran Adirondack guides say they can't remember ever happening on opening day. We had enough action to plan a return trip or two well before the May 1 turkey opener, when our focus shifts dramatically.

On top of that, I'm a huge hockey fan, and the NHL playoffs generally have me riveted to the TV each night – after roosting a bird, of course. I've vowed this year to spend at least some of the time watching the game while on the treadmill instead of sitting on the couch with a seven-scoops-of-ice-cream root beer float, but the fact remains there's a game on the tube virtually every night throughout the month of May and into early June when the quest for the Stanley Cup reaches its conclusion.

Combine rising at 3:30 a.m. to hunt, handling as much work as possible before my head hits the keyboard, perhaps scooting over to a nearby trout water when word of a caddis hatch circulates among the fly fishing fraternity, then trying to roost a gobbler for the next morning before heading home to catch the Penquins, Red Wings or Rangers game, it can take its toll even by mid-May. And don't even talk to me about overtime. Over the years there have been a couple games where, between the second and third OT periods I've surrendered, changing into my camo clothing and watching the remainder of the game then catching a catnap on the couch before hitting the turkey woods.

If it all sounds a little crazy, the month of May is certainly that. I've never been one to sleep long periods at one stretch, preferring instead to catch a few hours here, a couple there, and maybe a power nap at the base of a big oak tree until the arrival of the lone mosquito on the ridge.

It's been like that for a few decades now, but I've survived. I can't say the same about a lot of longbeards.

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