April 20, 2009
Bourjaily: How to Draw Down on a Turkey
By Phil Bourjaily
You’re turkey hunting, and a bird sneaks in quietly, catching you with your gun in your lap. Do you:
a.) fast draw
b.) move like a glacier
c.) freeze in panic
d.) Just shoot the turkey.
c.) is always wrong. I speak here from bitter personal experience.
d.) I’ve never tried it, but it’s simple enough it might work.
a.) I would guess this is most people’s choice. It has worked about 50% of the time I’ve tried it. You will be shooting at a running turkey if you choose this option.
b.) may be the best answer, although I’ve only see it done once.
I was guiding a friend, a law student whose goal was to pass the bar exam and kill his first turkey in the same week. Cody would stay up until 2:00 studying, then I’d pick him up at 4:00. By day three he was a zombie and I wasn’t feeling too perky myself.
About 10:00 that third morning we sneaked into a jumbled tangle of woods and blowdowns that I was fairly certain hid a gobbler. We sat down and I quickly fell into a rhythm: call, doze for ten minutes, wake up, call, nod off. Repeat. When I woke up for the fifth or sixth time, there was the turkey, standing behind a low brush pile and just slicking down out of strut, 25 yards away.
I looked over at Cody, who was sitting about ten yards from me. He was sound asleep, head slumped on his chest, gun across his lap. I briefly considered ending the hunt and our friendship by shooting the turkey, but instead I hissed: “Wake up.”
“There’s a turkey in front of you,” I whispered as loud as I dared.
That did it. Even from behind and off to the side, I could see Cody’s eyes bug out. The turkey and I watched, transfixed, as Cody lifted the gun from his lap to his shoulder in the space of what seemed like an hour, but was probably closer to 30 seconds. Then he shot the turkey in the neck. The correct answer, that day, was b.). (By the way, Cody passed the bar that week, too).
Choose an answer, and justify it with your own personal experiences.