By: Glynn Harris
A year or so ago, my good friend and avid, make that obsessed, turkey hunter, Jim Spencer decided to put a book together about his encounters with wild turkey gobblers, birds he described as “bad birds”. In fact, that was the name of his first book,”Bad Birds”.
Realizing that his book that took readers step by step up mountains, through briar thickets and across creeks to chase bad birds only covered part of his experiences, Spencer has assembled his accounts of more brushes with bad birds. His new book, “Bad Birds 2” is hot off the presses and is available for the perfect Christmas gift for turkey hunters.
Beneath the title on the cover of his new book, Spencer adds…”Another collection of “mostly” true stories starring the gobblers we all love to hate.”
Just who is this guy, Jim Spencer, anyhow? Here’s what a blurb on the back cover of the book says about this turkey fanatic….”Jim Spencer’s name and reputation are well-known in the turkey hunting subculture. A self-described turkey bum, Spencer has written more than a thousand magazine and newspaper features about turkeys and turkey hunting, and now, a third book on the subject. In more than 40 years of being whipped by turkeys, he has hunted them in three countries and 30 states. He and his wife Jill (also a well-known outdoor writer) live in the north Arkansas Ozarks, near Calico Rock.”
The book is beautifully illustrated in photos taken by Spencer, his wife and renowned wildlife photographer, Tes Jolly. The foreword was written by Tes and her husband, Ron Jolly. Here’s what Ron Jolly wrote in the book’s Foreword about the kind of turkey man Spencer is.
In describing a hunt in which Spencer was the shooter and Jolly the cameraman shooting a video for television, they had set up on a gobbler and when the gobbler closed the distance and was within shooting range, Spencer never got the signal to shoot before the gobbler walked away.
“When he was gone, Spencer pulled down his mask and grinned at me over his shoulder. ‘You couldn’t see him, could you?’ I shook my head. ‘You should have killed him anyway,’ I said. ‘Naw,’ he said, ‘that wasn’t the deal. You couldn’t get any footage, so I didn’t want to shoot. It’s just a turkey.’”
Giving it their all for two more days to film Spencer taking a gobbler they never had another chance but Jolly added, “Spencer proved to us to be a turkey man”.
Bad Birds 2 contains 40 stories of Spencer’s encounters with tough old birds, some he was able to conquer; some where the gobbler got the best of him. He affixed monikers to each of the bad ones he has met, names like Lazy bones, Gabby, Sir Edmund, Ringo, Blinky and on and on.
As thrilling and frustrating and fun to read as Spencer’s stories are about the bad birds he has encountered, the book ends soberly with his epilogue where he describes in a manner only he can do of the problems wild turkeys are facing in today’s world. “Something is happening out there in turkey country, and we need to get a handle on it,” he wrote.
This is a book every turkey hunter should read, for enjoyment, for pleasure and for instructions on what not to do. It’s also one that needs reading for his serious message about the plight of wild turkeys today.
To order your copy in time for Christmas giving, send a check for $26, which includes cost of shipping and handling to Treble Hook Unlimited, P.O. Box 758, Calico Rock, AR 72519 or to Paypal at modernmountainman@gmailcom.
BUSSEY BRAKE – Bass have been fair on spinners and soft plastics around pads and structure. Crappie fishing has improved a bit fishing the lower end of the lake around the dam with shiners working best. No report on bream or catfish. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
BLACK BAYOU – Bass are fair around the grass on jigs and soft plastics. Bream and crappie are slow. Contact Honey Hole Tackle Shop 323-8707 for latest information.
OUACHITA RIVER – Crappie are fair on shiners and jigs around submerged tops in the river with some caught in river lakes. Bass have been fair fishing shad imitation lures around the mouth of the cuts. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE D’ARBONNE – With the lake lowered, everything is mostly active in the deeper channels. Crappie fishing has been best up the creeks on shiners and jigs. Bass fishing has been best fishing the edges of the channels on crank baits and soft plastics. A few bream have been caught deep on night crawlers. Catfishing is good on cold worms and night crawlers. For latest reports, call Anderson’s Sport Center at 368-9669 or Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE CLAIBORNE – Bass fishing has improved as the fish have moved to the secondary points feeding on small shad. White is the main color for spinner baits or chatter baits. Crappie fishing has been best on shiners or jigs on the south end of the lake. Stripers are fair trolling white bucktails with Beaver creek area producing best. Catfishing has been fair on trotlines baited with chicken livers or blood bait. Bream are slow. For latest information, call Tim Loftin at Kel’s Cove at 927-2264.
CANEY LAKE – Bass fishing has been best in deeper water with soft plastics such as drop shot rigs or jigging spoons picking up a few. The yellow bass are starting to bite in deep water with some caught on jigging spoons and tail spinners bounced off the bottom. Crappie fishing has been best around deep tops with some caught under the Hwy 4 bridge on shiners or jigs. No report on bream or catfish this week. For latest information contact Bateaux on Caney Lake at 259-6649, Hooks Marina at 249-2347, Terzia Tackle at 278-4498 or the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE POVERTY POINT – Crappie have been best on the south end of the lake. Catfishing is fair to good while bass are slow. For latest reports, call Poverty Point Marina at 318-878-0101.
LAKE ST. JOHN – The gates are open and fishing overall has been slow. For information, call Ken Mahoney at 318-201-3821.
LAKE YUCATAN – The water is falling. Bass and catfish have been good while crappie are slow. For information, call Surplus City Landing at 318/467-2259.
LAKE BRUIN – The water is very clear and fishing overall has been slow. For information, contact Carlos Gray at 318/766-0075.