Saturday, May 31, 2008


Today was the last day of turkey season. I woke up at dawn to the crows. Artie was suppose to show up but didn't. So I told myself I would stay in bed unless I heard a gobble. Then, not a minute later, one sounded off. I got out of bed. Went out the front door and while I was watering the plants, I heard another gobble. To my dismay it was Carlito's tame birds across the road. Oh well. Now I was up. So I went out behind the cemetery. Nothing roost gobbled and nothing showed in the field. At 8 AM I drove to Montgomery to hunt with the old man. We drove his SUV up on the hill and I called and called with no response. Then I told him I was going to move farther up the hill. "If I get one going I'll come back for you." I said, swatting a mosquito. He nodded. I no sooner crested the hill and a big tom putted and flew away. FUCK! This is the problem when the toms get tight lipped. They can be right there and you'll never know it. When the rains hit at 11 AM we called it a day empty handed.
So lets recap the season. I shot three big birds with three shots- one of my best seasons ever. I know I'm one over the limit, but hell, there's years when I come up empty. You can't blame me for stretching the law a bit. I didn't have such good luck guiding. But I did get to hunt with the old man and he hasn't been in the woods in years. I shot an episode of Disposable TV and hunted with one model and a couple of friends. All in all it was a pretty good year. And at midnight tonight it's the opening day of Munk season.
For those city slickers not in the know. Munk season is the all time best of all hunting seasons combined. It runs from midnight on the June 1 to midnight on July 4. The weapon of choice is an air rifle but BB guns and even poison darts and pointy sticks are legal. There's no bag limit and very few rules. In fact outside of the season there are NO rules. You can hunt 24 hours a day, drunk or sober (opening evening is always drunk munk night)and traditionally you keep the tails as trophys. A 5 inch tail is considered Boone and Crocket caliber. I like to wear mine stapled to the brim of my hat. In these days of skyrocketing gas prices this is a sport you can do right in the backyard. LOOK! There's one under the swing set. And another by the wheelbarrow. OHMYGOD! Look at the tail on that one. So for those of you jonesing from turkey season's end. Don't despair. Start chirping . You can call 'em right in. Ought oh! Was that Chip or Dale? Excuse me while I load up before midnight.

Thursday, May 29, 2008



Tuesday, May 27, 2008


This past holiday weekend was a flury of activity. I hunted. I drank. I smoked. I ate and acted host to a group of church congregants. There was Chuckles, his wife Contessa von Freeland and their son Ace. Then there was Stevie and Mikey the Germans, and DH, BE, E and N, Al B. Heche Kaban,Marianna Louise, Horst, Slick, Justin and Leeza Jean. And that's not to mention my neices, Duffus the dog and some others I can't remember. So as you can imagine i'm stressed out. I'm not used to that many people at one time. I love 'em all.... but Christ!
So today i'm chillin'. I picked up my frames for the show from Brent Herzog and consulted over his turkey adventures. He's got a hot spot outside of Woodstock, but hasn't been able to close the deal. In my estimation he's not getting in touch with his "hen side". He's too eager. Too much of a slut. I tell him to hold a little back. "Be more coquettish." I tell him. "That tom needs a little mystery." It's a common rookie mistake. When you heat up a bird and he's gobbling to every car door slam, you naturally want to keep him going. But when he gets close you want to act like you're heading away. Give him the cold sloulder. "You'll drive him nuts." I assure Brent and head home with my frames.
My Brooklyn art show is a week from Saturday at 8 PM at Marianna and Horst's apartment @ 190 Grand St. #1R.. This is the inventory so far- (see title). Contessa von Freeland asked how much the collages were? I told her 10k and she snickered. "You'll never get that." she informed me, glaring through her monocle. "And $75,000 for the house? MY GOD!" I thanked the Contessa for her vote of confidence and went about my business. This is a tough crowd. See you there on June 7th. All prices are negotiable.


Because I scored early in the season this year, I haven't been in the woods as much as usual. I missed the shitty weather, instead making a paycheck down at GNJohn's. But now the weather has broken and with less than a week left in the season people are starting to make the call to hunt with me. This past holiday weekend I guided two hunts. The first was with Al B. and Marianna Louise. I like guiding almost as much as solo hunting. The thrill of putting a bird in front of another's gun is just as rewarding as pulling the trigger myself. I pride myself in knowing where the birds are hanging and in most cases can deliver. But as we all know it's called hunting not killing.
So as the fire crackled the night before we were to go out, ML assured me she would be ready the next morning at 4:45 AM. "I'll be waiting in the driveway." she stated with resolve. I asked her if she had waterproof boots? "Yes!" she said "They have high heels. I think I'll wear this tight little black number with this bra thingy or maybe high rise jeans with a skimpy top. What do you think?" I had been distracted by the fire and didn't realize she was talking about what she wanted to wear at my opening, not hunting. Either way it sounded HOT!
Al B. was a little late arriving the next morning. Maybe he had the same issues dressing. I picked up ML (in the driveway as promised) and we hit the woods. Al's 5'6" of weathered muscle. Marianna's 6 feet of long leg. Both dangled lit cigarettes as we picked our way to the field, where I thought the birds would be waiting. I made a few calls and waited for a gobble. Silence. I called again. Nothing. The sun rose. The song birds twittered. The crows cawed. The geese honked. No turkeys materialized.
As we moved to another spot I could tell ML and Al were disappointed. No more so than I. I take this guiding shit seriously and when I can't find birds i take it personally. How dare they not cooperate in their demise. The weather was perfect- warm with no wind. Al and Marianna lit up and frowned.
In the car between spots, I looked at Marianna's boots. They DID have high heels. All that time on the catwalk had inadvertantly prepared her for gliding over tangled deadfalls and kicking away underbrush with stilletos, while turkey hunting. Al and I both had a hard time keeping up with her. Every spot we tried came up empty. Each time I tried my damndest to fire up a bird, to no avail. Little wisps of tobacco smoke drifted towards the heavens as i scanned the woods for movement. Around 9:00 AM we gave up and went back to camp, where I made coffee and eggs for my "clients". It was the least I could do after being skunkd all morning. Maybe it was me. Next time I'm going to wear a camo thong, buy a pack of smokes, and build up the heels of my boots. See if that changes my luck. In the mean time keep your face powder dry and your gun barrel out of the dirt.

Monday, May 26, 2008



Wednesday, May 21, 2008




Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Never one to refrain from sticking his big nose in my business, my old man suggested I take Shewo hunting. I reminded him of the last time I had brought along a woman,(whom I was sleeping with) hunting. Thinking it would be good for the relationship I had taught my ex wife how to shoot and eventually hunt. It didn't always go so well. Once she threatened to shoot the dog and more than once I could feel the sights on me. So you can understand how I would not want to repeat the past."My woman is only interested in the kitchen and the bedroom." I told the old man. There was silence on the other end of the phone. Then, in his patented snide tone- "You let me know how that works out."
This past weekend Shewo came up for a visit. On Satuday morning I woke up at 4:30 am like always and hit the woods. I parked down by the bridge and went across the river. By 7:00 the morning was not going too well. I had spooked a bird off the roost and fought my way through a tangle of muddy logging tracts and under brush to the bend in the river across from Gilkey's farm. Nothing was talking. Then I heard a far off gobble. Where? Of course back across the river. It'd been raining a lot up here, so when I stepped in the river i immediately knew it was a mistake. The water was fast and up to my thighs. Somehow I made it across with the gun over my head. I crawled up the ridge in wet clothes and got on the gobbling bird. But he hung up. So I decided to pull off and go get Shewo out of bed, so I could put her on a hot bird.
She was game and brought along her camera. "You aren't going to shoot it are you?" she asked with crinkled brow and pout. I asured her I wouldn't as i loaded my gun. Then I admitted that I wouldn't know until the last minute if I'd pull the trigger. It's called hunting- not photographing.
We drove her car behind the cemetery and crept up on the birds, that were by now out in a field. With the first call they sounded off. Then they damn near ran us over in a hen searching frenzy. Shewho clicked away as I scanned for a tom. Jakes! This many teenagers could kick a big bird's ass. They putted and gobbled and eventually gave up and moved off. Shewho was tickled with the whole experience. But as we headed back for the car she hugged my gun arm and said "I'll cook breakfast. Then lets go back to bed." Now that's the way to take a woman hunting!

Monday, May 19, 2008


Wednesday, May 14, 2008


As the BBC put it, Hillary's base in West Virginia is "Uneducated white men...". And one of my favorite resident hillbillys of the state with that dubious distinction, is Savage Lynch's brother- Milawyer. He happened to be in town last night, putting the final touches on his new summer digs at Paradise Pond. Never one's to miss an opportunity to catch up with Milawyer and down a few as the sun sets, my brother Bird and I filled the cooler with beers and headed for the pond.
Milawyer is the namesake of my paternal grandfather, who basically raised his father before WW II. The family ties run deep, so when we get together there's plenty of clanking of bottles, hugs, digs, smirks, guffaws and eventually knife throwing. I'm good at everything but the later. For some reason I was behind the door when they were passing out the knife throwing gene. I not only miss the bullseye, I can't even stick it in the tree. CLANG- CLANG- CLANG- FUCK! Now you may think this is no big deal, but in this crowd knife throwing ability is looked on as something akin to being born without a tail. At first everyone is supportive and trys to help me master the technique. But as the night progresses and my knives clatter into the dust they (and I) give up. I just feel like crawling off and crying.
Look, I've got 3 degrees, can call a turkey in from a mile away, build a house, play guitar, write a song and lecture on the iconoclastic tendency of the Taliban regime in pre-9/11 Afghanistan. Why is it I can't stick that knife? As the night progressed I got drunker, hoping this would help. It didn't. So this morning I'm hungover, the bird's aren't gobbling and I have to go to work. As Milawyer put it. "Thank God the Osterhouts are good looking....cause they sure can't throw a knife." Excuse my tail.

Monday, May 12, 2008


I had never shot a turkey until I was over 40 years old. There weren't any around when I was a kid and I didn't hunt in my 20's and 30's. (Too busy chasing other prey.)It was my father, who had begun hunting turkey in Cooperstown, with Ray Key, who introduced me to hunting the bird. Recented married, and desparately looking for a reason to get out of the house, in the early 90's I once again hit the woods. My first turkey I shot in the fall. It was a jake who flew over my head. I pulled up a borrowed 12 ga. and dropped him. The ground shook. Hell, this wasn't too hard. I think that was the last one I took on the fly.
My few attempts at businesses (that always fail) and hunting are what my father and I share in common. He's a big intellect,with a wry sense of humor and a razor sharp businessman acumen. And we disagree on just about everything. Thank goodness he's married to my mother or I probably wouldn't have much to do with him. The one thing we can agree upon is there's nothing like calling in a gobbling turkey in the spring woods. Most fathers and sons don't even have that.
Over the past 5 or so years he and my mom have had more than their share of health issues. So I was amazed, and pleased when he said they would both come over to NY for Mother's Day weekend and he would hunt with me. I had already shot my limit, so concentrated on calling for the old man. We drove his lumbering SUV up on the hill behind my brother Bird's house and set up in an area we knew had turkeys. After 1/2 hour of calling I got a gobble. For the next hour I tried to coax that bird in to no avail. We saw jakes and hens ....but no tom. Still, just to have the action and see birds, marked the day as a great success. He had the bug again. When that turkey sounded off and the old man gave me a thumbs up and took five minutes to situate himself and his ancient Parker shotgun against that tree, I knew I done good. I don't always seek his approval but when I get it, I must say, it sure feels good. Maybe next year we'll get that tom in.

Sunday, May 11, 2008



Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Back in '05 I got these flu like symptoms. I got a fever and the sweats. I felt like I was gonna die, and wished I would. I looked in the mirror and all these red blotches(like Mickey Mouse) were spread over my body. I asked my sister-in-law Nurse Ginger what it was. She looked at the blotches and said it looked like mosquitos. Ginger must've missed that day at nurse school. I went on line and googled Lyme disease. Bingo. Ginger asked her boss Dr. Bob to write me a script and in a month I was cured. The antibiotics were 30 bucks.
Yesterday I yanked an embedded deer tick out of my left arm and then called Ginger. I figured a little preventative medicine was in order. Every May I spend the month crawling through the woods, as the ticks feast on my scrawny frame. I'm what you call high risk for Lyme disease. Ginger talked to the Doc. and he called in the script. But this time it was $250. What the....? How could this be?
I have no health insurance. I've never been able to afford it. I pay for my glaucoma meds to keep from going blind and pray nothing else too drastic goes wrong. So far (knock on wood) it's worked. Ginger and Dr. Bob look out for me when I whine loud enough. The problem is that doctors in this country have no clue what shit costs, nor do they care. They figure insurance pays so why sweat the details? So when the call gets made the wheels turn and the girl behind the counter asks for the insurance card, I just shrug. When I said I was paying, she grimanced. "Ouch!" An insured person would never even quibble.
I asked one pharmacist if there was a generic version. He said no. I got on the phone to Ginger. I hated to bug her. But I hated paying $250 more. She said I needed this stuff and as i was sighing and getting out my check book, another pharmacist said there was a generic version, that would be cheaper. Ginger OKed it and I got the cheaper antibiotic. How much cheaper? $238 cheaper. I paid $12 for the same stuff. You wonder why the medical industry does not want universal health care? Multiply this little tale by millions daily and you get the picture. Here's to your health.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


My deer hunting guru Savage Lynch swears by Nov. 13th as the hot day for bucks at the peek of the rut. I swear by the 5th of May for gobblers. Yesterday did not disappoint.

After a solid week of rain and fog, the crows started up etched against a powder blue sky. Then the roost gobbling started. Roost gobbling is the sound a tom turkey makes while still in the tree. It's what turkey hunters live for. If you have a hot bird on the roost, you can almost run through the woods, undetected, and set up ready to intercept the bird when he flys down.
There were two birds sounding off. One was across the road on GNJohn's land and another down on the Gilkey farm. I was behind the school house, so decided to go after the GNJohn bird. By the time I got close my heart was pounding and I was out of breath and sweating. I pulled out my slate call and made a couple of soft yelps. The gobbler roared back. I had his interest.
A jake dropped out of the tree right in front of me, as the tom worked his way down the hill. He was in full strut (blown up like a black beach ball) and gobbling all the way. The smaller jake stayed obediently silent and kept a wary eye on the tom. Then both birds moved off to my right. In the past I probably would've swung the gun, spooked the birds, shot and missed. This time I let them pass. When they were out of sight I repositioned myself on the tree and called loudly. The tom was lit up....and headed back. As he crossed a stone wall I clicked off the safety on the 12 ga. I had him in the bag by 6:15am.
I took the bird home, hung in the backyard hemlock and headed out to WSS. I'd recently secured an additional couple of hundred acres to hunt out there, but up until now i hadn't heard a thing. Today was the same. I wandered the wood roads and meadows. Gold finches, cardinals and chickadees made a ruckus, darting through the woods, but no gobbles. I moved across the road to another piece of property and was about to call it a day, when I heard a far off gobble. It sounded like a jake. I called and he answered. Then across 200 yards of field I saw him. HOLY SHIT! Even from that distance I could tell this was no jake. I called again and he headed my way.... WITH A HEN IN TOW! He had a red,white and blue head the size of a softball and a sphincter loosening gobble. I kept stroking the slate softly and he kept coming.
It's always difficult to call in a mature bird and next to impossible if he's with a hen. But for some reason this tom was more interested in my sweet vocalizations than the babe he had with him. Within 10 minutes he was standing, neck stretched out, 25 yards in front of my gun barrel. I squeezed the trigger and he went down like a ton of bricks. The hen scurried across the field as I stood over this monster. He had two metal leg tags etched with phone and DEC numbers. When I got home I called. It was a Univ. of Penn. program in NY, Ohio and Pa. set up to track turkey movement. The girl on the phone told me he was tagged in town of Calicoon and I'd shot him in Liberty. This boy was on the move. 22lbs. 9 1/2" beard. One inch spurs. She congratulated me on my score and wished me a happy Cinco de Mayo. Oye!

I'm now available to guide any interested supermodel.

Sunday, May 4, 2008



Saturday, May 3, 2008


I'm three days into the season and I have no blood under my fingernails nor feathers in my beard. The weather's been shitty and although I've had action and seen birds, I've yet to have a shot at a gobbler. Here's the update.

Each morning I've started my hunt at 5:30 am in the back left corner of my neighbor's farm. Aside from it being outdoors and early in the morning, it's kinda like showing up early at the disco. The smoke machine has been set on high and the dance floor is covered in thick fog. I find a spot at the bar where I can peruse the whole scene. The place is empty. A cardinal is yacking in a far off tree. Then a murder of crows start up. I wait for a response. Sometimes the caw of a crow will shock gobble a turkey. Nothing. When the sun is up I make a few calls. Nothing responds but out of the corner of my eye I catch three birds crossing the field right towards me- a hen and two jakes. This would be like Angelina going out with Doogie Hoowser and the kid from Malcolm in the Middle. They damn near crawl in my lap. But I'm not interested. I'm waiting for Brad or George Clooney.
Also like the disco, turkey hunting is all about sex. I put on the stretch pants, tube top and stilettos and do my best female turkey impression. This bitch is hot! The hen gets a bug up her ass and goes in the woods. Then I hear a strained gobble coming from the bathroom. I call and he answers- more forcefully now. George? That handsomish guy from Grey's Anatomy? I can't tell. It could be Cartman putting on the beard.
For the next three hours I chase that bird, but all I see are jakes. I can't tell whether it's Deniro down in the woods or a jake with a thyroid problem. My girdle is binding and my dogs are killing me. I don't know how you girls do it. In the end I give up and just like at the disco, I go home empty handed, wash the glitter out of my beard, and take a nap. Tomorrow's another day. Maybe if I bring a little coke with me....