Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Sounds of Spring

If you ask ten people what they think spring sounds like, I'm sure you'd get 10 different answers. Maybe the return of the backyard songbirds, the hum of hummingbirds whizzing by, the buzz of bumblebees as they bob and weave through the azaleas. For me, I'd have to go back 8 years and my first turkey season to really recollect what for me is the greatest sound of spring to be heard. In the pre-dawn hours of a late April morning in 2004 I walked down a dirt road in the Jersey pines and was immediately welcomed by the sound of a whippoorwill. How did I know it was a whippoorwill when I have never in my 44 years on this earth have heard one? I'll thank my dad for that, because at the age of 10, he taught me how to cup my hands just the right way and place my lips on my properly angled thumbs and blow. If you had the proper cadence, and opened your cupped hands to allow the right amount of air out, you could create the sound of the whippoorwill, something at the time I hadn't a clue to what it was, but my father sure made it sound cool. It took me all day, walking to & from school to get it, but when I got it, that was a good day. Now I was hearing that same sound, the sound I made with my hands, only it was  a real sound made by a real wildlife creature in the dark woods. Then, as I approached the predetermined area that I would hunt, another sound, something I also had never heard before but this one shook me to the core. This noise rattled the whole woods. The spring call of the tom turkey, the elusive gobble brought chills to my spine, but good chills indeed. I new that I was close to his roost and success was not far away.
Unfortunately for me, success was three more seasons away because I would only see two jakes(young male birds) all spring &  it wouldn't be until my third year hunting that I would harvest my first gobbler.
2011 is my eighth season hunting turkeys and although I also hunt in the autumn for deer & small game, I always look forward impatiently for the first signs of spring to arrive. I'm sure it has to do with being cooped up all winter and this past one was definitely cold and snow-filled.
It certainly was worth the wait though. On my second day out in the field, I was rewarded with my third tom turkey. I had hours of work ahead of me but, I could already taste the turkey breast cutlets that would grace tonight's dinner table.
There were many plans ahead for this bird.
The biggest tasks were going to be a batch
of sausage, half being smoked and then a wild-
turkey stock which for some reason I have not
done before with other game birds.
Tonight however, will be simple, just a light
coating of panko crumbs and sauteed in a mixture
of olive oil & butter. So simple and plain in fact,
the Mrs. pretty much inhaled what I served her,
and shes not that keen on eating game meat.

Next up...
Pick up some hog casings and dust off the meat grinder. Time to try another hand at game sausage.

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