Tora! Tora! Tora! Turkey

Published 10:54 am Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Years ago I interviewed a local man who was a champion turkey caller. He was quite good at that task.

But yet I had never enjoyed the thrill of a turkey hunt. That all changed on Saturday.

Setting my clock the night before, I arose early….say around 7:15 a.m. I showered, shaved, dressed, fixed a cup of coffee and headed to the office to finish putting together the tab we do every year for the Gates County Rodeo (inserted in today’s edition).

I left the office at 10:45 a.m. to drive to Conway for a story about a 4-year-old cancer survivor and a Virginia group building an outdoor play area for that youngster.

En route I must have entered a turkey’s secret hideaway. It wasn’t like I was trying to sneak up on this elusive creature as the engine of my Ford pick up truck was humming along and the sounds of “New Life” by the Marshall Tucker Band were blaring through the speakers. Heck, I wasn’t even dressed in cammo.

Perhaps what I missed during the interview with the championship turkey caller from years ago was the fact that these birds must love the sound of a Ford engine and Tucker on CD.

A short distance past Britton Ministries on the St. John-Menola Road, I noticed a turkey in an open field to my left. I really didn’t pay it much mind as I’ve seen turkeys in this location before.

However, he caught my attention when he started running towards the road. As I slowed, he took off….spreading his wings and taking flight. It was here that I learned an important characteristic about a turkey, they don’t fly very high…..just about windshield height.

A second or two later, with my view blocked by the body of perhaps the largest turkey known to mankind, the creature said hello to my windshield over the driver’s side. I turned my head to shield my face from shattering glass, which landed on the dashboard, my lap and the floorboard. There were shards of glass covering the top of a Diet Dew can that sat in the center console. Later I discovered small pieces of glass in my shoes!

After the initial shock, I slowed and came to a complete stop, then taking note of the windshield. Although it basically held together, the glass was pushed in about four to six inches. Turkey feathers were stuck in the cracks of the glass.

The good news was that I was able to navigate my wounded truck – leaning over to the right to peer past the damaged windshield – down a few back roads en route to my original home base on Pinetops Road. There I parked the truck and caught a ride to Milwaukee with my nephew, Patrick Bryant, where I borrowed one of my brother’s and sister-in-law’s vehicles and still made it to my assignment on time.

The bad news (if a state Wildlife Officer is reading this) is that although the spring turkey hunting doesn’t end until May 12, I’m not licensed to kill any type of game.

Between now and my eminent arrest I’m waiting for the wise cracks to start…, why did the turkey cross the road? To hit Cal’s truck!


Cal Bryant is Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be contacted at or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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