Turkey Hunting photo

by Phil Bourjaily

A year or so ago I was talking to someone at SHOT Show about public attitudes toward hunting. “If we can get Oprah on our side, we’ve won,” he said.

I don’t know if that’s true, or even if Oprah really is on our side (she did go fly fishing recently), but you can find this story about shooting and cooking your own Thanksgiving dinner by former F&S editor Kim Hiss on Oprah.com:

_My Christmas dinner was up in one of those trees. It was snowing lightly on a minus-two-degree dawn, and I was lying on my belly bundled in white camo, pointing the muzzle of a Benelli 12-gauge through a cluster of fireweed. The cold hurt my hands in a way I wondered if I should worry about. In front of me, a snow-coated field stretched for 500 yards to a line of bare trees silhouetted against a blush of sunrise. The trees’ branches were dotted with roosting turkeys, and their occasional gobbles carried back across the field to where I waited, breathing into my face mask.
_Next to me, rising on his knees to better see the birds, was Brent Lawrence, a friend who worked for the National Wild Turkey Federation, a nonprofit conservation group. We were hunting together outside the town of Kearney, Nebraska, for three days in December–one of which had already passed. Now he tapped my shoulder and pointed: The dots had started flapping to the ground, and single-file lines of birds were bobbing into the field, their chatter echoing in the cold air. I took a deep breath and adjusted my grip on the gun.

I’d started hunting a few years before, shocking everyone who knew me. Not only am I a sucker-hearted animal lover who includes my cats’ names on the answering machine, the closest I’d ever come to a firearm was a cardboard prop in a school production of Annie Get Your Gun. But in 2003 I fell into an assistant position at Field & Stream magazine; then I was invited on a mule deer hunt, and then I had some thinking to do._

It has been a few years since I shot my own Thanksgiving turkey in the fall but for a few years I made a point of it. Anyway, congratulations to Kim and to the editors of “O” for publishing a controversial story, and Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

For the rest of Kim’s story, visit Oprah.com.