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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


May 3, 2003 - Issue 86


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Thunderhawk - The Great Cross-Country Adventure - Part 9

by Geoff Hampton

Betterflies and FlowersAs Andrew the Apache, Paden and Paddy made their way through the mountains they saw many beautiful things. Spring was blossoming everywhere and the sights, sounds and smells were very uplifting to their spirits. It all made them feel so happy to be alive.

One afternoon Andrew the Apache set up camp early as Paden and Paddy were sleeping. When they woke up they surprised that they were already done traveling for that day. Paden said, "Hey! What's up?" Andrew the Apache smiled and said, I'm going to have a little surprise for you two tomorrow morning. I told you that I was going to teach you about nature and while you have learned a little you still have a lot more to learn."

Paden and Paddy looked at each other and then back at Andrew the Apache. Then Paden said, "What's the big surprise anyway?"

NestAndrew the Apache smiled and said, "This evening I will be doing some scouting in these woods to see where some turkeys are roosting for the night. Then tomorrow morning we will go and set up a spot near them and call them down off their roosts around first light. I think that you two will enjoy watching it. Turkeys can be kind of funny to watch. Then I'm going to make sounds like a hen and try to get a gobbler to come looking for me. That's how they mate in the springtime. The birds call to each other with different types of calls and then they find each other. Sometimes the gobblers get into big fights over the hens that they want and those fights can get pretty nasty. Paden and Paddy said, "Cool!" at the same time. Paden said, "Can we go with you tonight when you go scouting too?" Andrew the Apache said, "Sure." Both the little mice started jumping and down with joy.

Andrew the Apache made a nice warm fire and the three sat down by it and just looked at each other for a while. Then Andrew the Apache said, "Hey Paddy. How you feelin' anyway?" Paddy, who had been deep in thought looked up and said, "Huh?" Andrew the Apache smiled as he realized that Paddy's mind had been far away thinking about something so he repeated the question, "How are you feelin' anyway?" Paddy said, "Oh. Well…I'm feeling a lot better than I did…that's for sure. And I know that I can still kick Paden's butt!" Paden said, "Huh?" as he also had been deep in thought and his mind was far away also. He said, "Hey! What did you say Paddy?" Paddy laughed and said, "I said I can still kick your booty!" Paden said, ""Ha ha. So funny." Then he smiled too. Andrew the Apache knew that was a good sign and things were really returning to normal for the two little mice.

Setter (Dog)As the light began to fade Andrew the Apache got up and began tying all the dogs to trees which the two little mice had never seen him do before. The dogs were all barking like crazy because they didn't want to be left behind. They all knew what it meant when they got tied to trees like that. When he was finished tying the last dog he said, "Be silent!" and they all stopped barking at one time. Then he said, "Down dogs!" and they all laid down at one time. Paden and Paddy looked at each other in amazement. Paddy said, "No way! That's so cool." Paden said, "I think that is amazing! Do they always listen to you like that?" Andrew the Apache smiled and nodded his head up and down. Then he said, "Let's fly this chicken coop!" Paden said, "Hey! That's what Paddy always says!" Paddy said, "Yeah! That's my line!"

Andrew the Apache smiled and started walking away from camp. The dogs were now all sitting up and whining and whimpering. Then Thunder started howling and the rest of the beasts joined in also. It sounded like a pack of wolves to the two little mice. They were both kind of afraid of the dark so they were a little nervous.

Paddy said, "Hey! Can we climb up on you and ride instead of walking? I think I'm starting to feel weak again from my ordeal or something!" Then Paden said, "Oh my gosh! He looks like he's going to pass out again! He's not kidding!" Andrew the Apache smiled as he knew that they were probably just afraid of the dark but he played along with them. As he looked down at the two little mice he said, "Hmmmmmm…it is as you say. He looks weak right now. Both mice shook their heads up and down enthusiastically.

Then Andrew the Apache called their bluff by saying, "You know…maybe we should skip the turkey scouting and get Paddy back to camp to rest." Both Paden and Paddy said at the same time, "No!" Paddy said, "I…I…I think I can make it." Andrew the Apache smiled and said, "Okay. Climb up my pant leg and let's get moving. The turkeys are heading for their roosts right now." Paden and Paddy scurried up his pant legs and up to his shoulders to sit and safely watch what was going on.

Bird NestAndrew the Apache moved slowly and quietly through the forest. It was getting really dark by this time. Paden said, "Hey! Where are these dumb turkeys anyway?" Andrew the Apache said, "I have been listening for the sound of their wings or any of the calls they make just prior to flying up to their roosts. I think that there are some in this area. They don't always roost in the same area, but this spot is perfect for them with tall cedar trees. I saw plenty of sign along the way." Paddy said, "What does that mean?" Andrew the Apache said, "Well…sign means things that tell that what you are looking for has been where you are." Paden said, "Huh? What does that mean?" Andrew the Apache said, "Well…for example we are looking for turkeys, right?" The two mice shook their heads up and down. The skillful warrior continued, "Along the trail that we were on I saw several fresh places where the turkeys had been scratching the wet ground looking for food. There were other signs that helped me know that there were both gobblers and hens." Paden said, "How could you tell a gobbler or a hen had been there by the way they scratched the ground?" Andrew the Apache said, "The way I can tell a gobbler from a hen is not from the way they scratch but from their droppings." Paddy said, "What do you mean? What are droppings?" Andrew the Apache said, "When a hen passes waste from their body it is a round object with a little drop of white on top. When a gobbler does the same thing it looks like a longer object in the shape of a J." Paden and Paddy looked at each other and then Paddy said, "Do you mean when they go poop?" Andrew the Apache smiled broadly and shook his head up and down. Paden and Paddy looked at each other and said, "Gross!" at the same time. Paden said, "You mean you look for their poop?" Andrew the Apache said, "That is one way to tell the gobblers from the hens." Paden said, "Just do me a favor." Andrew the Apache said, "What is it Paden?" Paden said, "Don't bother showing me any poop from any bird or animal! That is sickening!" Paddy said, "I agree." Andrew the Apache just smiled and shook his head back and forth.

As they approached a large stand of cedars Andrew the Apache said very quietly, "I think that there may be some turkeys here. One way of telling, especially if there are any gobblers is to make a hoot like an owl." Paddy said, "What does that do?" Andrew the Apache said, "In the springtime the turkeys mate and the gobblers are very edgy. Almost any loud sound will make them gobble when they are on the roost, but an owl is an enemy of the turkey and they don't like owls."

OwlPaden said, "Do it! Hoot like an owl!" Then Andrew the Apache cupped his hands around his mouth and let out an incredibly real sound like an owl. Even before his call was finished a gobble erupted right above them. That gobble was followed by several more gobbles from surrounding trees. Paden and Paddy looked at each other and said, "Whoah! That was really cool! Those gobblers really thought that you were an owl!" Andrew the Apache just smiled. Then he said, "Tomorrow morning we will come back to a place near these cedars before light and wait until we hear the turkeys making what are called tree calls. When they first begin to stir, right around first light they begin to softly call to each other with the tree calls. Let's get back to camp and sleep and then we'll be back here early tomorrow." Then he took them back to their camp.

As they neared the camp the dogs all started barking like crazy. Andrew the Apache said, "Silent!" and the dogs went silent. The two little mice just shook their heads in amazement and smiled.

The two little mice couldn't sleep that night. They were too excited about the coming morning and the thoughts of finding the turkeys again. They had both really enjoyed the lesson that Andrew the Apache had showed them that night.

When they both finally fell of to sleep it only seemed like a minute before Andrew the Apache was quietly awakening them again. Even though they were both exhausted from such a small amount of sleep they both jumped right up were ready to go off into the woods to find the turkeys again.

Hound DogThe dogs were barking again and Andrew the Apache silenced them easily enough. Thunder once again started to howl along with the whimpering and moaning of the other dogs. Paden said, "That's kind of sad. Those poor dogs want to go so bad." Andrew the Apache said, "Yes they do. However, their noise would spook the turkeys and we wouldn't be able to do what we're going there to do." Paden said, "Okay." And they kept moving silently through the dark woods.

As they approached the stand of cedars, the first streaks of light were appearing across the eastern skies. Andrew the Apache picked out a spot and sat down next to a large oak tree. He said, "It is very important that you two stay very still. Turkeys rely on their eyesight for their primary means of protection. Paddy said, "Is that like a deer too?" Andrew the Apache said, "No Paddy. A deer may use their eyes to some extent, but for a deer their sense of smell is their primary defense. It is said that a turkey has such keen eyes that it can see a tick crawling up a tree from over a hundred yards away." Paddy and Paden looked at each other in amazement. Then he said, "The reason that I chose this large oak tree is so that the tree will disguise the form of my body from the turkeys keen eyesight. You also may notice that the stand of cedars is on the opposite side of this tree. That is so that when I move a little the turkeys won't see it. Then I'll call them around to our side of the tree."

TurkeyThen Andrew the Apache said, "What I'm going to do now is make a soft tree call and then do what's called a fly down cackle. The turkeys make the fly down cackle when they fly from their roost to the ground. I will also beat my hands against my sides in a pattern to sound like a turkeys wings as they fly down. Then hopefully some big gobbler will fly down to come find what he will think is a hen, but what is really just me."

Then he made a soft sound, "Keow, keow, keow." The sound was followed by a thunderous gobble nearby which was followed by other gobbles from some of the surrounding cedar trees. Paden and Paddy were excited. This was really cool!

Then Andrew the Apache made a louder longer call and clapped his hands against his sides to sound like the turkeys wings. Paden and Paddy were giggling softly. Andrew the Apache put his finger in front of his mouth and quietly said, "Shhhhh!"

After a few minutes of silence Andrew the Apache softly said, "Now I'm going to make a sound like hen looking for a boyfriend." Then he made the call, "Keow, keow, keow, keow, keow." The sound was followed by another round of gobbles and the sound of the wings of several turkeys flying to the ground. The loud gobbling sound was repeated and it was getting closer. Andrew the Apache made another call and scratched at the ground with his hand. The gobbler was getting closer. They could hear movement on the other side of the tree. Then the little mice heard a funny yet faint sound. It sounded like a short "pfft" type sound and then a soft sound like drumming that started in a low key and quickly went up in a short strange sound.

TurkeyIn a few minutes they was movement off to their left. As they looked they saw the huge gobbler all puffed up and in full feather display. He was twirling in slow circles and making the funny sound that they had heard. Then they heard another gobble very close by. The gobbler that had been in full display immediately stood up and let out a defiant double gobble. The other gobbler, clearly not intimidated did the same thing. The gobbler that they had been watching ran around to where they couldn't see and all kinds of terrible sounds broke loose. The two gobblers were obviously fighting.

Andrew the Apache stood up and that scared the gobblers away. Paden and Paddy were thrilled. It had been such a cool experience. It would be one that they would never forget. They thanked their human friend and then returned to camp. They were ready to continue their journey.

The End - Part 9

© 2003 Geoff Hampton

Geoff Hampton is an internationally known author, speaker, motivator and business consultant. Hampton is also a regular columnist for the wellness/fitness Website and Canku Ota and can be reached by E-mail at His national anti-obesity/diabetes campaign, The Wellness Wakeup Challenge can be reviewed at

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