How Turkey Hunting is Like Dating Men

As a novice turkey hunter, Assistant Online Editor Sarah Smith Barnum takes all the advice she can get—even from a turkey-hunting cab driver in Indianapolis.

"Men are lazy, are we not? We're lazy. We want to not have to move around too much, and eat and have relations with other turkeys and not have to do any work. That means he wants you to come to him. So playing hard to get means understanding when he's actually calling to you. Not when he's gobbling because it's a shock gobble or a crow, or whatever. When he's actually responding to you, and the more time you're in the woods, you'll understand what that's like. If he cuts you off with a gobble, and you make some calls and he cuts you off with a gobble, that means he's calling to you in particular. From that point on, don't call. Wait, wait, wait, wait. Play hard to get."

Last Thursday I left a bag in a taxi cab. To make a long, frustrating story short, I spent the better part of a stressful afternoon tracking down this bag, until I finally found it at the cab company's lost and found. I should have felt perturbed, but I'm a believer that everything happens for a reason. In this case, I was meant to lose this bag, so I could learn not to be so forgetful, and so I could meet an awesome cab driver. It's amazing how people can turn your day around and make a difference in a 10-minute drive. I take cabs often enough that I am guilty of playing on my phone or staring out the window, rather than attempting to engage the human being in front of me in conversation to make any sort of meaningful connection. That all changed.

Joel Wonder, an Indianapolis cab driver, was kind enough to drive me from the lost-and-found back to my hotel and on the way he shared some great turkey hunting tips (part of which you can see above) and was a joy to talk to. Joel compared turkey hunting to dating, which isn't the first time I had put that together, but the way he explained it was not only hilarious, but extremely poignant. If I took one thing about hunting turkeys away it was not to call so much. To not sound desperate. To sit and wait for the gobblers to come to me, once I've realized they are responsive.

Not only was Joel a great story teller, but he was just a good man. Providing hunting and fishing opportunities for disabled American veterans, he and some of his friends started a non-profit organization called Hunts for Heroes. Joel was set to head out that night to take another group of guys on a turkey hunt.

Thank you, Joel, for raising my spirits. Henceforth, when I'm bored in the blind or up against a tree I will refrain from hitting the calls. I will play hard to get.

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1 Response to How Turkey Hunting is Like Dating Men

Sally Oak wrote:
May 01, 2014

Hi Sarah, Reg and I loved your article regarding turkey's and the cab driver. Very funny and poignant, you are so talented. Xxxx