Saturday, February 7, 2009

Buzzard Puke

For about three years, I hunted on a deer lease just outside of Madison, Georgia. Madison is a quaint little Southern town filled with Pre-Civil War antebellum mansions. But unlike some of the other small towns in the area, Madison was spared the fiery wrath of General Tecumseh Sherman on his infamous March To The Sea. the despised Yankee general had a mistress who was from Madison and she begged Sherman to keep his troops from burning it to the ground.

That little factoid has nothing to do with the following story, I just though is was interesting.

Anyway, we had this old boy on our lease, who hunted out of a decrepit, broken down old box stand stand on the property. He called it the "Buzzard Stand," due to the fact that a flock of turkey buzzards decided to make the stand their nest. The stand was consistently covered in buzzard poop and smelled to high heavens. No one else in the hunting club would even go near it, except for this old boy. He said the smell of the buzzard feces masked human scent and kept the deer from winding him. Personally, I never grasped the concept of sitting for hours on end breathing in the foul stench of buzzard crap, but the lengths some hunters go just to kill a deer never cease to amaze me.

Well one day in late summer, with Bow Season just around the corner, this old boy went down to the deer property to do a little scouting and check his stands. He took with his .22 rifle, just in case he ran across a rattlesnake or a copperhead while walking through the brush. We he got to the infamous Buzzard Stand, he climbed the ladder to the top. When he opened the plywood door and peaked inside, he found a large female buzzard sitting smack dab in the middle of the stand with a brood of buzzard chicks surrounding her. Naturally, momma buzzard immediately started hissing and carrying on a the site of the intruder in her nest.

Well, the old boy, took his rifle and shooed the momma buzzard off her nest where she flew out of the one of the windows in the stand. He then climbed up and kicked the little baby buzzards out of the stands with his boots.

After he had adequately cleared the debris out of the bottom of the stand, the old boy climbed down again. At the base of the ladder, he found the baby buzzard chicks flopping and rolling all over the ground. He noticed that the old momma buzzard was circling over his head, obviously still trying to keep an eye on her offspring.

"I'll put a stop to this," thought the old boy, so he aimed his .22 and shot the old momma buzzard out of the sky. She landed with a loud thud in the middle of the logging road. Be she wasn't dead, he had apparently just wounded her. She flopped and floundered in a heap of dirt and feathers. Eventually she stopped and sat upright in the road and quietly faced the old boy. He approached the buzzard slowly with his gun raised, with the intention of shooting her in the head at point blank range. But just as he got to with in two feet of her, the old momma buzzard raised up, cocked her head back and spit all over the old boy. Actually the word spit is too tame of a word, the word vomit is more probably more accurate. Apparently it turns out, puking is some sort of strange buzzard defense mechanism.

Whatever it was, that momma buzzard projectile vomited, Linda Blair-style all over that old boy. He was covered from head to toe- literally dripping with buzzard puke. Now obviously, I don't think I need to describe what buzzard vomit consists of, you probably have a pretty good idea, but in the spirit of creative writing I will. It was a mix of decaying deer entrails, putrid, rotten road-kill and a strange green bile substance- quite possibly the most horrendous stench ever conceived by God. (With maybe the exception of my cousin Ray's lucky elk hunting hat, but that's a story for another time.)

Needless to say, that was the end of that old boys scouting trip that day. He sprinted back to his pickup, dripping in buzzard stomach juices and made a beeline to his house where he was said to have taken ten consecutive showers and soaked in a steaming bath of tomato juice and Clorox.

If there is a lesson to be learned here, it's this: Don't mess with crippled, momma buzzards, because they can hock loogies from Hell.

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