by Tim Smith
The Story: I recently had the honor of attending my very first National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) Convention in Nashville at the Opryland Hotel and Convention Center. Can I just say, WOW! It was A-W-E-S-S-O-M-E!
I'll be honest, I was not prepared for what I was about to encounter. As a newcomer to this venue, I had no concept of its magnitude. As I made my entrance onto the convention hall floor, it was there I stood in complete "man" amazement. My senses where overwhelmed at the spectacle that was before me. My eyes gazed upon thousands and thousands of square feet of camo clad "man" things. My ears embraced an angelic symphony of slate, box and mouth calls as they sang the Halleluiah chorus of yelps, purrs and gobbles. My sense of smell was enveloped by the sweet aroma of fried things and bold coffee. Could this be what heaven is like? If so, come sweet Jesus, come.
After several hours and a couple of hundred dollars (...I really hope Dawn, my wife, doesn't read that line), I made my way out of the "Promised Land" and decided to explore the other happenings of the convention. It was then that I found myself completely enthralled in the Head-to-Head GNCC. (For those of you not in the turkey calling know, the GNCC is the Grand National Calling Championship.) Actually, this was also my first time attending a turkey-calling contest. As such, I was a little taken back by what I saw and the fevered intensity of which it was happening.
This leg of the GNCC took place in a dark room that held about a thousand people. The crowd sat as quiet as church mice intently focused on the stage and the callers that make this their home. To make a loud noise or sudden move would be a serious turkey calling contest faux pas. The four elite judges positioned themselves near the stage in a way where they could not see the caller and they could focus their sole attention on the pitch, tone and variation emitted by each caller during the requested call sequence. During this competition, callers competed in pairs and were required to out call their opponent in head-to-head turkey calling combat. I'll just say it--it is at this point I was a little floored. I didn't realize that the grown men in these contests would take on the persona of an ol' Tom Turkey in order to become one with its sounds and thus emit the calls that most resemble this wary bird. At first glance I really just wanted to giggle a little bit. However, I knew that if I did I would quickly be escorted from the room by GNCC Turkey Security. Let me further explain what I saw through an example. Let's say a contestant is called upon by the emcee to perform a cluck and purr sequence. As such, the caller takes on the persona of a turkey that's just out for a Sunday stroll. Most callers start their demonstation by raising one arm and hand that becomes the bird's beak (confused? - Just think of the first part of the chicken dance). At the same time, the contestant moves in the same manner as a turkey moving and bobbing out on a stroll. Can you now picture why I wanted to giggle? This head-to-head routine of turkey deception is repeated for several hours until one man remains and is named the best in land, "THE GRAND NATIONAL CALLING CHAMPION (or GNCC)."
The Word: Satan puts the same kind of serious effort into deceiving us. Many times, most times, he makes things look really good and sound even better. However, those are the things that are likely to make us fall. In turn, just like that ol' Tom, we have to be keenly aware of the deceptions and tactics he uses to bring us down. Colossians 2:8 reminds us to "see to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ."
Field Tip: If you're like me and nowhere near GNCC status and have a hard time distinguishing between a "kee-kee" and a "cut", have no fear. The NWTF has a web page that can help. Simply go to http://www.nwtf.org/all_about_turkeys/sounds_of_turkeys.html for a little turkey talk low down. Once at the webpage you can listen and then practice these calls in your preparation for the Spring turkey woods. Good luck out there in your pursuit of "Talking Turkey".
Making Him known,