Skip to content

An Afternoon Hunting Outing That Went Fowl

By David Howell

Mary Ann Nichols called me from Benton, Arkansas, Monday afternoon. She had read an earlier column about the land my grandmother had owned in the Orwood Community and was curious about my family. Mrs. Nichols, who was a Kirkwood, grew up only a few miles south from my old hunting grounds.
Her husband, Tommy Nichols, lived in Water Valley. They have been gone for many, many years, but still enjoy reading the Herald. She said Tommy was just a few days shy from celebrating his 88th birthday. Thanks for calling!

It seems like readers enjoy hunting stories, so I thought I would share another one. This a funny afternoon outing that went fowl last weekend. The story actually starts a few days earlier after I encountered a couple of my neighbor’s guineas while walking to my deer stand. I rounded a curve and heard an awful racket, the guinea’s alarm cry. I figured they would not stay in the area long, they were only about a quarter-mile from their home. The next morning they showed up on my deer camera, eating corn under the feeder, and it appeared they had a new home.

A pair of free-ranging guineas’ freedom will not last long. One has already disappeared.

That afternoon I headed to a spot in the woods, climbing up in a ladder stand I haven’t been in this season. Minutes after settling in, the guineas cranked up.

Only two hollows over, they spent the next two hours squawking.

So much for a peaceful afternoon in the woods, I bet you could have heard them from a half-mile away. Finally as the sun was going down, the racket subsided. There was only about 30 minutes of shooting time left, and it was prime time for deer to stir.

Then I heard leaves rustling. I suspect most hunters will agree, the anticipation of hearing something coming in the woods is always exciting. The sound was unmistakably larger than a squirrel, so it had to be deer. I strained looking through the woods and finally spotted the origin. More fowl, only this time it was a large flock of turkeys, all hens.

I wasn’t disappointed, I love watching turkeys in the fall and hunting them in the spring. It was time for them to roost, so I waited for them to fly up. I don’t know if you have ever heard the ruckus a large flock of turkeys make as they take flight to roost, but they are not graceful birds. Their wings slap the tree limbs as they gather momentum. As startling as a covey of quail are (or maybe I should say was) when they take flight, turkeys are 10 times louder.

The fading light made it difficult to get a good picture of a turkey hen roosted high in a pine tree.

The turkeys scattered across the tree tops for about 100 yards in front of me. Never content with their first perch, for the next 10 minutes they flew from tree to tree and limb to limb, looking for just the right spot for the night.

Watching them, I was reminded how agile they are in the tree tops as they walked up and down limbs. I also learned that as wary as they are during the spring hunting season, they paid no attention to my blaze orange vest in the winter as one of the hens was just above me.

By the time the turkeys were all settled, it was almost dark and the woods were eerily quiet. After all that activity, it seemed I was the only critter left in the woods.

It turned out to be an enjoyable afternoon for me, but not so much for the guineas. The next morning, there was only one poor little fellow eating corn under the feeder. That one probably won’t last much longer, does anybody got a good recipe for a guinea hen for Christmas dinner?


Leave a Comment