Fun is without question my least favorite word in english, at this moment. In usual conversation it means almost nothing, and like angry or frustrated is a lazy, proxy term for something more specific and revealing. Fun doesn’t really exist outside a deeper narrative, whether it’s about learning, struggle and accomplishment, or simply satisfaction and relaxation. Oddly, this is why it’s important to never refuse the gimme. When talking about a deep engagement with outdoor activities, it has become typical to discuss fun as invariably intermixed with overcoming difficulty. And rightly so, but the problem is that too much intimacy here can lead to disappointment when challenge does not materialize. On some trips the weather will go counter to expectations and be perfect, the snow will be better than expected, or the target of your hunt will wander out into a meadow close to the trailhead.
That is what happened this week. Finding turkeys in the Flathead is easy in April (see top picture), what is more difficult is finding this transplanted species on public land, which tends to be too thickly wooded and without much fresh green ground cover for these big birds to eat. So when I took my gun for a walk after work, I brought tags and kept it loaded, even though I intended nothing but target practice, or maybe a squirrel. And after 20 minutes of walking, when I came around a house-sized slash pile and saw two toms and a hen right there out in the open, I had 2/3 of a second to freeze see the turks freeze click the safety shoulder the gun aim at the closest toms neck and fire. Not the classic locate, setup, call, and fire turkey hunting gig, but not something I’m going to turn down. Especially when you can have turkey jaeger schnitzel for dinner, as I am this evening. If the hiking is pleasant this weekend, with the snow firm and the spring ticks not in evidence, I won’t complain either. Keep going out, and your time will come.