As I write this, there’s still snow on the ground in this part of the province. And, as I peck at these keys, turkey season is less than a month away and closing fast.
Those two thoughts converged in my mind this morning seconds after I noticed a lone set of turkey tracks in the snow just down the road from my place.
My guess is that those fresh tracks belonged to a gobbler. Any hens you see right now are in large groups.
Seeing those tracks did my heart good. It reminded me that soon enough, I’ll be sitting in the spring woods with my back to a tree. Taking in the sights, smells, and sounds of an emerging spring. Basking in the warming sun, listening to songbirds, and hopefully encountering a gobbler or two.
That’s why I followed those tracks. I told myself I might learn a bit about what a solitary gobbler does in the off season. But I won’t lie – I also wanted to catch a glimpse of the bird that made those tracks, if only to see if it lived up to all the hype my imagination had bestowed upon it.
Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on your outlook, I didn’t get very far. I had hardly gone 75 yards into those woods when I noticed four deer on the ridgetop watching me.
And so, I got my phone out, turned the camera on, and slowly made my way close enough to take a grainy photo or two. Which is when they realized that discretion is the better part of valour.
By the time I got to where they were, they had slipped off. Not in a panic so much as a nervous trot.
All that was left were tracks stitched deep into the ragged surface of the crusty snow. I followed these too – mostly because I’m a sucker for a fresh set of tracks.
Not too many steps later though, I discovered that those deer had crossed the tracks of the turkey I was originally following.
That’s when I realized that I should head back home and leave those animals alone. Winter is hard enough on game animals without them having to expend energy avoiding the likes of me.
It also occurred to me, that if all goes well, those animals – deer and turkey alike – will only have to endure winter weather for a little longer before spring begins to unfold and provides them with easier times.
Eventually, I suppose, all tracks lead to spring – though whether they get there depends on a host of things beyond our control. Even so, that’s a heart-warming thought.
With any luck at all, our tracks will converge again.