Cell-ing point: Talking turkey
I haven't strayed too far from the phone this week. A turkey-hunting friend of mine is out in Missouri and, as usual, he has clearance to call any time a gobbler is down, although with the one hour time difference it's pretty unlikely he'll awaken me with the news.
It's been like that for years. When I'm not traveling to Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, South Dakota or elsewhere, I tend to feed off the fortunate turkey hunters who are on the road in pursuit of spring gobblers. It's not quite the same as actually being there, but if I can't tag along I can sit back here in the office and root them on from afar. And it is, I guess, clearly less expensive, although when it comes to turkeys most of us obsessed gobbler chasers feel money is no object.
It's been that way for a few decades now. If I'm the traveling turkey hunter, I dutifully phone in to friends back home, reporting my successes or failures. Cell phones have made that pleasant task a lot easier, and it's not unusual to be connecting with a buddy while the longbeard is still flopping at my feet.
I've never tracked it, but I undoubtedly spend more time on my cell phone during the spring than at any other time of the year, and it's almost all turkey-hunting related conversation. Who's killing, what they're hearing, who struck out, who has birds roosted for the next morning and what the game plan is next all gets kicked around on the old Tracfone, cell service permitting. Even my Chevy's OnStar system gets a workout; it's not unusual for Paula and me to head out on separate roosting/scouting missions, especially if she's coming along in the morning. We communicate on the spot – interrupted, perhaps, only by a fellow turkey hunter reporting his sightings and plotting strategy for the sunrise.
It can get to the point where a regular business call – especially in the morning when I'm convinced a turkey-hunting buddy should be phoning in a success story – can be met with a little frustration. The general rule of thumb is, early call good, mid-day call not so good. And no call can often mean some really frustrating hunting.
Over the years, I know I've kept my closest hunting pal on edge, notably in Florida when I didn't connect on the third leg of my grand slam until the fourth morning of what was supposed to be a three-day hunt. Filling the Osceola tag was critical to our game plan, which involved a Nebraska panhandle trip the following spring to complete our grand slams together. It all worked out, and Dave was one happy hunter when I finally made the call he was waiting for.
So now I'm waiting for his call. Paula and I, still taking care of an aging black Lab Ben, stayed close to home this spring. Instead, we'll hunt around here and plot a Kansas trip next spring so Paula can, with a little luck, take a Rio Grande for her third leg of the grand slam.
When she does, she'll be on her cell phone pretty quickly. That's the way it is during spring gobbler season.