Jake and His Other Brother Jake - November 25, 2018
State Representative David Perryman
As Thanksgiving Day comes around and families devour the turkey breasts, turkey legs and giblet gravy from an estimated 46 million turkeys, I often recall my personal encounter a few years ago with testosterone infused juvenile Meleagris gallopavo and my vivid realization that they are a menace to society and that in gangs they can be downright dangerous.
It all started off innocently enough. It wasn’t my birthday, but my wife had just presented me with a new digital camera, complete with a zoom lens. Anxious to try it out, one fall Saturday morning, luck sent the perfect opportunity in the form of what appeared to be a wild turkey strolling across the pasture about 60 yards below the house.
Not wanting to scare the bird, I took the camera and quietly slipped out the back door and around the side of the house just as it passed behind an outbuilding. I readied the settings on the camera so that I could begin snapping pictures as soon as the gobbler emerged into view.
Jo was busy inside the house and from her vantage point had also seen the bird but could not see where I had stationed myself. Slowly, as I began taking photos, not one, not two, but three “jakes,” juvenile male wild turkeys, stepped into view. As I clicked frame after frame, the birds spotted me and allowed me to capture pictures from the front, in all their glory.
I realized that the birds had taken a few steps toward me and I adjusted the zoom lens to compensate for the shorter distance. Turkey step by turkey step the need for the zoom lens decreased and just as I realized that the birds’ stroll had suddenly become a “turkey trot,” the zoom adjustment hit zero. It was then that I looked over the camera to realize that the turkey trio had congregated less than ten feet in front of me and were eying me and my camera.
Knowing the propensity of male turkeys to use their spurs to inflict serious damage on their opponents, I wanted to make certain that they understood that I was not their opponent or if I was, that they understood that even in my unarmed state, they were no match for me.
I roared and raised my hands in an attempt to look larger but the enjoyable photo shoot quickly escalated into a war of wills. The bird in the middle was closest to me and for an instant seemed startled, but turkey testosterone is an interesting chemical and every time the lead bird would hesitate, Jake and his other brother Jake (both of which lacked accountability) would crowd the closest one toward me.
Realizing that the birds were not leaving the yard, I started swinging the camera around by its strap, simultaneously yelling AT the turkeys and FOR some relief from inside the house. Unfortunately, even though Jo had seen the three birds come out from behind the shed, she had gone back to her task thinking that I was getting some great pictures.
My vocal chords were reaching a point of raw inefficiency when Jo happened to look out another window and realized my predicament. Wanting to rescue the camera, she grabbed a rake, and by simply coming around the corner, caused the assemblage of tyrannical turkeys to turn and trot across the field out of sight. Both the camera and my person were undamaged, and I had a series of photos, one of which has appeared on my personal Facebook profile page since I opened the account. And my family has had another topic for “Dad” jokes around our table.
We hope that you and your family had a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday.
Questions or comments, contact David Perryman at 405-557-7401 or David.Perryman@okhouse.gov.