Cumberland Times-News

Outdoors

March 15, 2014

And then God created gobbler hunters

In the event you are not

already properly pumped

up for the rapidly

approaching spring gobbler

season, let me suggest

that you purchase a

copy of “Spring Beckonings,

gobblers call and we

must go” by Otha Barham

and read it during the next

couple of weeks.

You can count on one

hand the book reviews I’ve

done here at the Times-

News, but Barham, the

outdoor editor for the

Meridian Star in Mississippi,

hooked me in the

introduction when he

described a conversation

between God and his

right-hand angel dealing

with the wisdom of creating

turkey hunters.

“What were you thinking?”

the right-hand angel

asked God.

“Well,” God replied, “we

need more humor and

mystery and diversified

deviousness on Earth to

keep things more interesting

and this could help.”

Barham’s book is a collection

of brief, standalone

stories about gobblers,

gobbler hunters,

gobbler hunting places,

gobbler hunting successes

and failures. It’s good.

I’ll pass along to

Barham the favorite compliment

I received for my

own book, “Native Queen,

a celebration of the hunting

and fishing life.”

“It’s so good we keep it

in the bathroom.”

Veteran gobbler hunters

will read this book and nod

their heads in agreement

on a regular basis. New

gobbler hunters will laugh

and learn. Wannabe gobbler

hunters will go out

and buy hunting gear and

chomp at the bit for hunting

season to begin.

Spouses of gobbler

hunters will think, “That

would be a nice gift.”

The hunts described by

the author might take

place in a certain location,

but that is irrelevant to the

story being told. Good

turkey stories easily cross

state lines without making

the Lacey Act kick in.

Get this. Barham said

one of the two best gobblers

he has killed in more

than 40 years of hunting

came from the Green

Ridge State Forest right

here in Allegany County.

“Gabriel of South Ridge,”

at 10 pages, is one of the

more lengthy chapters in

the book. Tag along with

Barham as, morning after

morning, he works on

Gabriel, finally putting a

tag on the bird’s leg.

Barham will tell you stories

about some serious

gobbler hunters and call

makers. He’ll take you on

trips for osceola and Merriam’s

gobblers. The bulk

of the book, though, is

devoted to the Eastern

gobbler in settings similar

to our wooded, mountainous

terrain.

If Barham hadn’t sent

me a copy of his book to

review, I’d buy one.

Here’s how you can.

For a signed, inscribed

copy, send $15.95 plus $5

shipping/handling to Old

Ben Publications, Otha

Barham, 3100 38th St.,

Meridian, MS 39305. A

hardcover with dust jacket

is available for a total of

$27.95. Barham may be

contacted at obarham

@comcast.net
.

Contact Michael A. Sawyers at

msawyers@times-news.com.

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