Thursday, May 26, 2016




When i first moved to the mountain it was an empty place. Bob Meadows was here, as was GeneB, a rental couple on the Parker property, Ray Gilkey and myself. On each side of a big stretch of road it was nothing but overgrown fields and hardwoods. Turkeys and deer were everywhere. Nowadays it's not quite suburbia, but it is inhabited. 10 or more houses now sit where there once were none. Both the game and I have adapted. As the hood sleeps soundly, I creep around  listening for a gobble in the pre-dawn, wondering how I'll get a shot off without striking a BMW or waking a snoozing baby.
    About a week ago I was driving past the new houses when I spied a hen down behind "The Russians". I slowed the truck down and to my delight there stood a beautiful big tom in full strut. I turned around, grabbed my gun, and snuck into the woods behind my house. If I played my cards right I could call that bird into the woods (off the Russian's property) and get a shot. I got him going, but his gobbles faded in the distance as he walked away. This was a smart bird.
   For the past week this tom has been my obsession. I named him Putin. I love turkey and deer hunting in general. But hunting one big buck or one big tom is pure bliss. Between the weather and work I haven't had the time that I really need to get a shot at Putin. But alas, yesterday the job ended and today the weather cleared to a hot, clear 80 degrees. I was up at 4:00 am and in the woods by 4:45 am. Putin was roosting over on RNButch's property. By 5:30am he was on the ground, following 3 hens. I'd call and he'd answer, but with his harem in sight, he wouldn't commit. Then, as he was still gobbling, 5 jakes appeared on the horizon. I'd let plenty of jakes walk early in the season, hoping for a long beard. Now church was coming up, and the congregation needed meat. A bird in the sights...... as they say. When the lead jake presented himself, I squeezed the trigger. He went down in a heap.

  As the morning progressed I had Putin gobbling in front of my gun barrel 5 times. Each time he'd either hang up and walk away or remain tauntingly just out of range. By 10 am I had him pegged, just over a rise, gobbling his head off. Then he shut up, spun and moved to a big field. I could see him standing there. I scratched the leaves, called sweetly, prayed....  Nothing worked. He was moving back to the Russian's. I quickly backtracked, walked the road and ducked in the woods alongside Tommy and Joe's. I was exhausted. At about 11:30am, eaten up by mosquitos, ticks, flies and ants, I leaned against a tree and closed my eyes. An ant woke me up marching up my arm. I slapped it and as I did I heard the "putt- putt-putt" locator call of a tom looking for a hen. I was flat on my back, my gun at my side and there stood Putin within range. I couldn't move until he ducked behind a tree. When he did, I raised the gun. When he stepped out I had him. You guessed it. He turned and walked over on Tommy and Joe's lawn, disappearing across the road, heading for the Russian's. Then the noon whistle blew, signaling the end of legal hunting time. I wanted to name this post SHOOTIN' PUTIN. But it was not to be. Putin will live to fuck another day.  

Sunday, May 15, 2016


We are half way through turkey season and I have yet to have the gun up on a long beard. To say that this season has been rough would be an understatement. The first week was solid rain. I went out a few mornings in the drizzle, just to catch a couple of hours of time in the woods. No gobbles. No birds. I had started a job down at Cider Andy's only to be also shut down by the rain. I couldn't hunt. I couldn't work. I didn't feel like making any art. Why fucking bother? One day blurred into another.
    Back when i was a young man in my 50's I was able to get up at 4:30 am, hit the woods well before dawn, and if the Gods were willing I could kill a big tom and be on the work site, on the Upper East side, before 8:30 am.  Those days are long gone. But the other night, after Shewho and I rented The Revenant, seeing what poor Leo had to go through, I decided to man up and get in the woods before work.
   Thurs. I went behind the cemetery and waited for a roost gobble. The woods were silent.  Every time a crow cawed I hoped a tom would shock gobble. Then I heard a hen just below me on the ridge. She was moving to my left and with all the dead falls and recent logging I couldn't lay eyes on her. Then I heard two gobbles behind her. My spirits rose. I worked the cedar box call but for the life of me couldn't get a response. This is how it had gone for two weeks. One or two gobbles would be all I would get- no response. I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong. Oh well. Time to go to work.

    I hit the job site before 9am. Asher "Pigpen- King of the Jews" Rothman was working with me. He was busy cutting blocking and when I arrived we turned to setting rafters on the storage barn. Even without any turkey action I felt good that I was still able to hunt and work a full day at 73. Take that DiCapprio. Then about 3:00 pm I started to feel a little fuzzy. PP was cutting the 2x8s and I was setting the rafters up top. We'd worked our way across the first 12 feet and had to set some more scaffold planks to continue. I lifted a 2x10 up and set in across the beams, instructing Asher to move the 12 foot step ladder........
    Here's where it gets fuzzy. I thought I had the plank safely set, but obviously it was not. I took one step towards the ladder and the plank gave way. Remember when the mean kid stepped off the teeter totter while you were up in the air? It's kinda like that.....only I was 9 feet in the air, above a concrete floor, hanging in mid-air. My left arm raked the rough cut, spinning me. Frantically grabbing with my right hand, trying to break my fall, I was fucked. My bad right shoulder pulled and tore as Asher rushed under me, catching me in a pile. His Israeli Army training must have kicked in. It all happened in a matter of seconds. If I had fallen in the middle of the building......if Asher had not been there (or reacted slowly), if........     Some bruising and a pulled shoulder is what I walked (I repeat- walked) away with. I owe this fact to Pigpen. It could've gone so much worse. Maybe that kid needs a new nickname.      

HANGING THE WHITE HALF WHIP (and assorted work)

Thursday, May 5, 2016