I am not a hunter.

I am a fisherman at my core. I come from a long line of people who chose fishing over hunting, and I married into a family that loves fishing too.

A lot of people like to both hunt and fish. The Indiana DNR has had a combination hunting-fishing license for just such folks.

Outside of the fact that I didn’t grow up hunting, I really can’t tell you why I never got into hunting. I suppose that not being raised with it is enough reason that it never caught on with me.

But, if you have read this column for a while, you know that I have a very healthy respect and appreciation for people who hunt. I love to hear them tell their stories of the big ones they bagged and the bigger ones that somehow got away.

In a certain way, I live vicariously through those stories.

That feeling has been kindled anew in me over the last week as my social media platforms have been filled with guys and gals decked out in all of their camouflaged glory posing with the big turkey they just shot.

Each picture of a hunter with a smile peeking out from underneath the green and black paint streaks on their faces brings a smile to my own face.


Because I have a secret.

It’s not a bad secret, and in the same way I don’t know why I don’t hunt, I don’t know why this is really a secret. Truthfully, there are a few people that know about what I am about to tell you, but it’s not something I talk about much in public or in private.

The secret is this: I want to go turkey hunting.

OK, let me be a little more specific—I want to call in a turkey for someone to shoot.

I can only imagine your facial expression right now—head slightly cocked to one side, the look on your face like the server just brought to you a plate of food that you didn’t order, your lips tucked together but wide enough for a puff of air to come out.

I have watched so many of the TV shows with turkey hunts attempting to and (in many cases but not all) killing a bird, I want to see if I could do it.

I see myself with a stick-and-slate style of caller, sitting 10 feet back into the woods from a giant clearing, scratching that stick on that slate and then listening to see if it draws a reaction from something outside of my field of vision.

I want to see a big tom turkey come strutting into the clearing and spot the decoys we’ve placed at the perfect spot related to our position just out of the bird’s sight.

Then we realize there are actually two males—one a little bigger than the other. I know I can’t communicate with the person with the gun at risk of ruining our opportunity.

I assume my hunting partner is locking in on the bigger bird.

And then, in my fantasy about this whole thing, I grit my teeth and close my eyes just before the “BOOOM” of the shotgun splits the silence.

I open my eyes again just in time to see the bigger bird flail one last time.

That’s what my dream is.

Let me be perfectly clear, I don’t need to do this to feel any lifetime achievement. In my bucket list, it’s down at the bottom. But it is in there and it won’t get shuffled out of there for a few years without actually doing it.

Also, let me also say that I don’t like to eat turkey, generally. I prefer ham and chicken a lot more, but if you give me enough BBQ sauce I can make it work.

But I would not be hunting just for the sake of killing. I couldn’t stand the thought of that. If nothing else, I would donate our prize to CCS or a church’s food pantry.

I am so glad that turkeys have come back in Indiana. Wild turkeys are good for us. It’s another season for hunters to participate in and put food on their table naturally. Sure, you can go buy a turkey at the grocery store, but it’s not the same as killing it and dressing it yourself.

And maybe, someday, I will meet one up close and personal.

Until then, keep posting those pictures and stories.