Was determined to reach the gym—need two more visits this month to make eight total. But also wanted to practice archery in preparation for the turkey-hunting season, which starts on May 6th. So at 6:30 pm, I went out to the life-size, three-dimensional rubber turkey target and fired off a few arrows for the first time since last fall.

The first two hit the bird; then I started missing. In the second group of eight arrows, only three hit the target. But by the end, 8/8 were in the turkey. This is really good for me. So I stopped and raced off to the gym, which stays open until 10 pm.

I learned how to hunt in Connecticut (many many men do it here) with a shotgun in the early 90’s. My neighbor used to own a hunting and fishing shop, and he introduced me to this aspect of rural life. I discovered that I loved the outdoors, the silence, the aloneness, the commune with nature, bumping into deer and coyotes and bobcats and many birds singing their different songs. I learned that I loved the taste of wild turkey, which is nothing like a domestically raised bird. I loved the challenge of finding the turkey, calling it in close with a noisemaker that simulates a real bird, hitting it, plucking it, gutting and dressing it and learning the different ways to cook it.

It’s all part of a hunting/gathering tradition that humans have known for thousands of years, and almost all city-folks are totally unaware of. I felt like I was connecting with my roots, my past, unknown ancestors and the present natural world at the same time. I must confess that I was such a city guy, so naive and uninformed about the outdoors, that I did not realize until I was 46 that birds had different sounding songs that could be used to identify them. Can you believe that? I am still astonished that I was so out of touch with Mother Nature.

After becoming successful with the shotgun and harvesting a bird each of the two seasons a year, I decided to make this quest more challenging and became a bow-hunter. Turkeys are among the hardest game to hit with an arrow, and I have only succeeded once in eight years. Lots of misses and moving ever so slightly—but still too much—so that the bird sees me and runs or flies away. The eyesight of a wild turkey is legendary, and some fall seasons, less than 50 turkeys are taken a year by bow out of the 30,000 that live in my state.

If you are interested, I can tell you more about the pros and cons of hunting at all and personally killing nature’s living birds and some mammals for food. I knew nothing and had uninformed opinions when I lived in New York City and its suburbs for decades. But I have heard and ingested a totally different point of view in the country, where men of all social stations and incomes hunt for food, talk recipes, grew up from boyhood in the woods, and deal with the politicians who are under pressure from city-folk to end hunting in parts of our country.