You may be aware of my recent gun purchase, which was a great milestone for someone who’s a registered Democrat from San Francisco. If so, you know I’ve recently hit most of the milestones: I made it through the 10-day waiting period, I picked out my “Grumpy Old Man with a Gun Persona”, and I loaded it up and took a few shots. I’ve even named my gun. In honor of one of my gun-toting heroes, the late lamented Fess Parker, I’ve decided to name my gun, in an homage to Davy Crockett’s Old Betsy, Ol’ Fess.
The problem, as it has been since I first contemplated buying a gun, is figuring out what I wanted to shoot. Gun owners have told me I’m approaching this whole thing the wrong way, but it seems to me logical. What do you want to shoot? Get the gun that is geared to shooting that kind of thing. Problem was, I couldn’t really think of anything I really wanted to shoot. I’ve been warned that, living in an area that is a frequent haunt of a pack of coyotes and at least one Mountain Lion, we need a shotgun. Especially if we wanted to stir the pot by adding livestock (which we do). So, even though I wouldn’t want to kill a coyote or a Mountain Lion, I now have a shotgun that I’m told will do the job. But the large meat eaters around here aren’t really the problem. We’ve all reached what the old Soviets used to call “a state of peaceful co-existance”. I don’t wander around during their hunting time and they don’t come out and kill me and the terriers during daylight hours. It’s an arrangement that’s working well for all of us.
In fact, I have evidence that the non-verbal among us are adhering to the contract. On at least one occasion, one of the workers has stumbled across a steaming deer carcass. Steaming, as in it had just been ripped open by a mountain lion. By the time he could run up and get reinforcements and run back down to the site again (about five minutes), the corpse had been cut in half and the hindquarters portion carted off. That tells us two things: 1) the Mountain Lion was sitting hidden watching one or more people blundering around his kill, yet not interfering and 2) that’s one fricken powerful cat to drag off half a buck so far that we couldn’t find it within five minutes.
So that leaves the punks that have been attempting break-ins around here. But, still I don’t want to shoot a person. (Particularly any potential thieves so inept that, when they broke into the garage, they wrote their names in the dust on the windowsill.) So again, the question: What to shoot?
The answer came from John the Baptist today. He and Louis spotted a critter we’ve been dreading. A critter so destructive to vineyards that immediate martial action must be taken.
Yes, I know all about the fact that the turkey is native to America, and one of my heroes, Ben Franklin, wanted it named the national bird. But most experts in native flora and fauna state that the turkey is an Eastern bird and was introduced into California — where, I might add, it has an insatiable appetite for grapes. And can fly right over those deer-proof fences.
Or is the Wild Turkey a non-native invader? There are those who would argue otherwise. They say the turkey was well known in the Aztec Empire in Northern Mexico, inexplicably died out in California and was RE-INTRODUCED to its native habitat by White settlers here. So, by planning to shoot Wild Turkeys am I actually committing genocide on an indigenous inhabitant?
Rush Limbaugh would tell you this is the paralizing effect of Liberal Guilt. Sorry Rush, not paralized at all. Any turkey that crosses my path is going to get blasted out of the Mesquite. Not endangered, not contributing, not in symbiosis with anything here. Dead. I’d turn the terriers on them, but at a hefty 15-24 pounds, many of these winged marauders would outweigh my canine enforcers.
So I’m practicing hard with that shotgun. I’m now the Dirty Harry of Sonoma and the turkeys are the punks.
“Do ya feel lucky, turkeys? Well, do ya?”
Unless I’m the Elmer Fudd of Sonoma. In which case,
“You wascally turkeys! I’ll bwast you away!”
My understanding is that the best Wild Turkey is something like 80 to over 100 proof :>)
Those feathered suckers will make good targets. Not a bad idea for the sound of a shotgun to be heard around the vineyard anyway. Discouraging to bored doofuses.
Kewl! Y’all are gonna need hunting licenses and perhaps other requirements must be met. I’m not at all familiar with what California requires, but I’d bet if you’re applying for a hunting license for the first time you will also be required to attend a hunters’ safety class. Kansas has the state divided into regions that have different regs for different game – turkeys are right out around my farm. Which is no surprise, since seeing one around here is really, really rare. CA the same? YMMV – I’m not up on your seasons and regs.
Your local gun emporium probably has forgotten more than I’ll ever know on the subject, but you and Ol’ Fess are gonna have to become a bit better acquainted. It would be a fine idea to “pattern” your gun at different ranges so you can pick the load that gives the best performance at the ranges you can be comfortably confident that you’ll hit the bird. Most turkey shooting is done with head shots – much better chance at a clean “kill.” A load that groups well at a very short range might be pretty well useless at greater ranges. A conscientious hunter does not take high risk shots that will more than likely wound the game and cause suffering. Kinda different than the popular image of the gun blastin’ redneck – although they exist, their kind is NOT appreciated.
So, I’ll be staying tuned!
Hang on a minute. Farming? Shotgun? Hunting? Listening to Rush Limbaugh? Would you like to attend the April 15 tea party in Bakersfield with me? I believe you might fit in even better than I will.
Hee Hee, Maybelline. I don’t know about attending a tea party. But I have to say, the gun is fun!
And Jeffro, are you telling me the Gov’mint is telling me what I can and can’t blast on my own property? If I’m allowed to blow away a cougar or coyote for “worrying sheep”, surely I can smoke a turkey for “worrying grapes”.
My, your new guy has you all fired up. Post pics of your kill – or not 😀
Turkey’s.. If CA is the same as OR, then you will need your hunting license, applicable Hunter Ed training & qualification off completing course. Then you get a turkey tag, or land owner turkey tag. Even though you are a land owner, turkeys are listed as ‘game’ & so come under the Dept of Fish & Game regulations. Also, you have a 20 gauge if memory serves correct. Normal load for turkeys is 3½” magnum, 12 gauge turkey load cartridges. These big loads will cleanly kill a turkey with no suffering to it, if your gun is patterned correctly for turkey.
95% of hunters are conservationists, we preserve the land & animals so they can breed correctly & not over eat an area & starve, we also do not eradicate any species, except to try on vermin. That’s why there are rules & regulations in place to leave a sustainable amount of critters after the hunting seasons are over. Vermin is one thing, they can be shot anytime of the year. Turkey’s are not considered vermin. Pig’s, specially feral hog’s are, (well in Oregon they are). Coyotes are considered vermin too, specially where live stock is concerned. So if you get overrun by them, then shoot away but, you may need to upgrade to a rifle for them pests.
Rats! Looks like there is a season, one that runs for only 16 days. But I still haven’t found clarification on whether I can shoot out of season if the little bastards are attacking my grapes. I did find on one site that it is legal to hunt turkeys with dogs. Heh. Heh.
How can coyotes be vermin and not turkeys? Turkeys are certainly vermin to a vineyard owner. Coyotes are okay in my book! They, along with the Mountain Lions, thin out the deer.
Hey Lisa, Sherrie and her partner were having problems with turkeys at the nursery. They would roost in the tree’s behind the property, gliding down in early a.m., destroying whole flats of new seedlings and grasses. Fish and game issues what is known as a depredation permit, which allows you to protect business investments , seasons or number varmints not withstanding. After attaining the permit, at first light they shot one out of it’s roost( because they are located in a neighborhood, a high powered pellet rifle with laser sight had to be used ). The others flew the coop yet to return. The unlucky critter was dressed out and eaten, like fresh brown eggs compared to safeway’s, the wild turkey was richer in flavor than farmed birds. Some would probably say gamey , I thought it was tasty.
As always, John the Baptist saves the day.
Now off to find the Sonoma Fish and Game department and get my depredation permit.
Good luck to you and ‘Ol Fess!
I started reading and got sucked right into your story. I would love to live among deer and mountain lions. Turkeys? Not so much.
My, your new guy has you all fired up. Post pics of your kill – or not 😀