In the fall the
most effective call is the kee-kee run, the cry of a lost young turkey. It will
attract any turkey hen in the neighborhood—it will bring out the maternal
instinct in her—and, consequently, any gobbler who happens to be roving nearby.
"It's the saddest sound in the world," says Lee, tonguing his mouth
caller and producing a series of high-pitched, panicky little squeals. He's
driving his pickup truck now, on his way home after a ramble down the dirt
roads of a forest reserve. Even though it's off-season, he's jumped out of the
truck several times to try, without any luck, to call up a turkey. "Ooh,
that kee-kee run'll break yer heart. Sounds like a baby cryin'," he says.
His eyebrows arch as if he were listening to a sad country song.
It's dusk. The
dead rattlesnakes on the road are barely visible, and the air is thick with
fireflies. Lee's cap is pulled down low as he croons, modulating up and down
with the hum of the motor. His yelps and puts grow more mellow as the darkness
gathers. "You know, callin' is just like talkin'," he says suddenly,
realizing he's been thinking out loud. "It just comes naturally."
Deep in the woods
all the turkeys are roosting up in the trees. There may be one gobbler out
there who's having trouble settling down for the night, a gobbler whose red
head glows in the darkness. Over and over he hums to himself a particularly
bewitching remark he heard that afternoon, not so much a remark as a song; a
song so sensitive, so expressive, it could only have come from a turkey hen
whose irresistible beauty would be surpassed only by her astonishing passion.
He spends the night, eyes open, waiting for daylight.