Recently I read a post on a forum that involved the cost per pound of a wild turkey compared to a store bought one. In this case a friend of one of our fellow turkey hunters could not begin to understand the rationale of putting so much effort and expense just to put a turkey on the table. Why would you incur such a cost when you could just walk in the store and buy one for $1.59 a pound? I’m sure in his and others minds we as turkey hunters must be crazy and while the latter may be true, I actually feel my $100 a pound bird is one of the best deals I get each year and is easily justified.
First of all grocery shopping and hunting are not quite in the same category and don’t carry the same level of excitement or require the same gear. Hobbies which can include golf, boating, skiing, stamp collecting, needlepoint, fishing, hunting, or whatever it may be, comes with a price tag.
Even among hunters, hunting has different meanings to different people and we have our own reasons, motivations, goals, and aspects that allow us to enjoy the sport. And, although I like almost all wild game, the meat aspect is not the reason I love to hunt, but more of a fringe benefit.
For me it’s about spending time in the outdoors, creating lifetime memories with family and friends, and knowing what its like to see & hear the woods come to life in the mornings. It’s about hearing the coyotes sounding off, the sound of wood ducks whistling through the air, listening to screech owls that sound possessed, and wondering if the whippoorwills will shut down before the gobbling starts. Its hearing gobblers gobbling and hens tree talking on the limb and enjoying the challenges that turkey hunting or any hunting brings. It’s a chance to meet and make new friends, and creates lifetime bonds with what are for the most part, down to earth people that have an appreciation for the simple things in life and certainly the outdoors and conservation aspects involved. Hunting in many ways brings people from all different walks and backgrounds together in a way that not many other “hobbies” or events can.
It’s about having trouble controlling your breathing and shaking when you’ve got a walnut sized brain bird that puts your slightly larger one to the test and wins most of the bouts that makes you feel childish. It’s about watching this happen to others, especially those new to the sport experience the same. And, it’s about experiencing the excitement, adrenalin, and extreme satisfaction when it all comes together after much anticipation and failed efforts.
We as hunters and outdoorsman understand this….but those outside this circle may sometimes have difficulty comprehending…For many of us it’s not about the meat or the cost per pound. Putting meat on the table really is just a fringe benefit and the real value turkey hunting brings is priceless.
So with all due respect, technically my turkey meat may run about a $159.00 a pound for all I know, but I guarantee you when I’m sitting at the table or frying it up in camp with friends eating it and remembering the event in detail that brought him to the table…I’d have paid more.
By Bobby Parks
Mossy Oak Pro Staff
Ol Tom Field Expert