The Hunter is interested in all wildlife. Whatever shows up in the woods or in the fields or on the lawn is always of interest. With turkey season just three weeks away, he is especially interested just now in what the wild turkeys are doing.
He has been watching one jake (an immature male) round up his harem in anticipation of Young Love in the Spring Time.
Our young, lead jake is fanning and strutting. He appears quite proud of himself. He has his flock. He is not letting anyone escape. He is ready. You can almost see the thought bubble over his head: “No problems when you’re a chick magnet like me.”
It is equally apparent – to anyone who has lived through a spring anyway – that young Jake has never done this before. Or perhaps he just needs glasses. At the moment, his harem consists of several hens, along with a number of other bewildered young jakes.
“The trouble,” says The Hunter, “is that there are several huge trophy Toms around and he is bound to bump into one fairly soon. The old guys are not going to stand for any of his nonsense and our youngster is going to get his brains beat in.”
The Hunter isn’t sure if he is more amused by Jake’s air of having life all figured out, or by the fact that half his harem is not going to do him any good when push comes to shove comes to passing along his genes.
There are three other young jakes on the property. So far they have resisted being rounded up by our know-it-all high school freshman who thinks he’s already graduated from university. Instead, these three are running together, just like normal teenage boys, and checking out the action from a safe distance. It’s all about the quick disappearing act when you’re a spirited youth.
Interestingly, two big, big Toms are also running together, only they have a group of hens with them. This is highly unusual and sooner or later, according to The Hunter, there is going to be skirmish to determine who stays and who goes. It will probably be one of these Toms who acquires a ready-made harem, teaches the freshman that it’s not all right to date senior girls, and sends the bewildered ones off to study their lessons with the other three juvenile delinquents.
Growing up is apparently not easy for any of us.