I have been hunting with turkey-slaying terror Jeff Budz for five days. He makes sure that three friends and I rise at 3:30. We hunt till 8:30 p.m. and are usually not back to the motel until 10:30. I have killed turkeys in South Dakota, Kansas, and Nebraska. Five of them. Jeff is a wonderful guy who makes you thankful that you personally are not a wild turkey. And he’s also killing me.

I’ve learned some valuable lessons on this trip.

• You can effectively rinse blood-stained hands with a single mouthful of water by judiciously dribbling a few drops at a time on them while you make like a raccoon rubbing its paws together.

• You can get by on way less sleep than you thought humanly possible–I got more sleep as a new father. But this reduces your ability to find your own pockets. And forget about actually recognizing what you find inside.


• If you high-center a vehicle in South Dakota clay miles from help and the only digging tool you have is a rental car’s tire iron, you will be there for a very long time. During which you have very poor odds of killing a turkey.

• I had another one but I just got in the truck and don’t have enough elbow room to type. And we will shortly be leaving pavement. When that happens with Budz driving, you need both hands to brace yourself because the vehicle spends a good part of the time in the air. I expect to be an inch shorter by the time this is all over.

Turkey photo by Alex Robinson