I never imagined I’d address a guy holding a weapon with a loud “Hey!”
After seeing him run along the sidewalk across the street with his camo-painted bow and arrows, my son, dog and I ambled out the door in the same general direction. We weren’t chasing the hunter … we were taking Leo-the-dog on his evening constitutional.
When we crossed the street, we saw him holding his loaded bow and aiming it down the hill, away from our house. I was pretty sure of what he had his sights set on: our turkeys.
He didn’t look my way, so I tried again with a louder “Hey!”
That got his attention. He looked our way, and I saw a small deer below him raise its white tail and run toward the river.
“What’re you doing?” I called.
He put his finger to his lips, asking us to be quiet. So of course I called out again, “What are you doing?”
(Who had I become? The neighborhood turkey camp director?)
He tried to mouth some words, but I failed to catch the details. So he initiated a series of elaborate gestures. I think I caught “shooting an arrow,” maybe “flying” (meaning “turkey?”), thumbs up, “OK,” and pointing at his phone (his source of authority?).
That last charade gave me something to go on. I pulled out my own phone—happy to enter into dueling research mode—to pull up the turkey regulations I’d already consulted.
That’s when he brought his bow down to his side and approached us. He told us in hushed tones that you can shoot turkeys in town on private land if the landowner approves.
“Really?” I asked. He was young, maybe twenty or twenty-four, but it’s hard to judge age when someone’s holding a weapon and reciting hunting regulations with the confidence of a sheriff. “Really?”
Leo must have sensed my skepticism … or maybe he was just being Leo … because that is when my fearless dog began leaping and barking, expressing his own canine misgivings. The guy was unfazed. My son stood there quietly, seeming to enjoy the show.
With Leo losing his mind, and my phone’s connection to the internet dragging, the bowhunter and I found ourselves at an impasse. I couldn’t help muttering, “You know, the turkeys are our friends.”
A sad statement, I guess, but we have spent more time watching them than visiting with most of our local humans.
“Well,” the bowhunter replied, as he headed back to his perch, “there are plenty to go around.”
D, Leo and I began walking too, away from the young hunter, in the direction of the now-scattered turkeys.
“If hunting is allowed,” I called back, 98 percent certain it was not, “I’m sorry if we wrecked your hunt.”
We haven’t seen him back since.
For more stories of turkeys and my family’s Minnesota adventures, visit the Minnesota section of my blog.
Resuming a Minnesota life after 19 years in Washington