Posted 11/20/19 (Wed)
Well, the storm that was forecast for opening day of deer season wasn’t as bad as was anticipated. Although in many parts of North Dakota, it was wet enough that the trails a farmer or rancher has to drive on all winter are full of ruts and hunters are going to be cussed for a long time. And judging by the pictures posted on social media, a lot of big bucks were harvested. It doesn’t always take a big buck to make a successful hunt.
I recall a day back in the 80s when we had a house full of deer hunters snowed in for several days. You couldn’t hunt. You couldn’t do anything but hunker down and play poker or pinochle. Untold sums of money changed hands. I figure between the food the hunters ate, and the money of mine they won, I could have taken Shirley on a wonderful vacation.
So, as deer season winds down, and we start getting ready for Thanksgiving, I thought I’d tell you one more deer camp story. One that kind of ties Thanksgiving and deer season together.
Now, I wasn’t there, but I heard this from a deer friend who never missed the deer opener and the nightly quarter limit poker games that deer camp entailed.
I’ll just jump to the chase.
Deer camp was set up at the base of Bear Den. Bear Den was a hill in the badlands that was steep and curvy. In the heart of some of the most rugged badlands in the state. It was in an area that was accessible only by foot or horseback. If you were riding a darn good horse. It is the place where the 30-point muley buck makes his home.
The first night of deer camp, the essentials were unpacked. They included a few cuts of cold meat, several cases of beer, and a couple of jugs of adult beverages.
As the story telling began, one of the local ranchers began telling of the albino turkey that had been seen several times that summer and fall. Some said it was a ghost. Others said although several attempts had been made to bag this turkey, he seemed invincible.
The evening progressed and bagging that turkey became more important than getting the big buck.
Unknown to some of the participants in camp, one of the camp members had gone to a neighboring ranch and borrowed (or possibly purchased) a domestic turkey. They are white you know.
During the night, as campers lie blissfully sleeping after a long night of beer drinking and card playing, this rancher tied this turkey up in a little clearing about 70 yards from deer camp.
In the morning, one guy, I think it was Herbie, went out to relieve himself. As he was looking around, hoping to spot the 30-point buck, his eyes came upon the elusive albino turkey.
He sprang into action, not even bothering to put his shoes on. Trying to wake everyone without startling the white gobbler, he quickly grabbed his deer rifle. A 30-06! Now if you are not familiar with rifles, I will tell you a 30-06 is made for deer, elk, and elephants. Not turkeys.
He sighted in on that poor old turkey and KABOOM! He missed. The turkey jumped in the air, ran to the end of his tether and stopped. KABOOM! The turkey jumped and ran the other way. No escape.
This is the sad part. KABOOM! The third shot was dead center. Albino turkey feathers flew everywhere.
Herbie raced up the hill, not looking back to see everyone rolling on the ground in laughter. When he got to what was once an elusive, wild, albino turkey gobbler, he found the blown up remains of a tame turkey hen. With a piece of baler twine tied around one field dressed leg.
At least, that’s the way I heard it.