Staking out the birds

Published 4:00 pm Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Keep an eye on the Sportsman Channel over the next few days for some familiar faces.

“Turkey Country,” a show produced by the National Wild Turkey Federation, will follow the hunting exploits of attorney Ralph Hobbs and his son, Hugh. The show also follows Dr. B.L. Youngblood and his sons, Gray and Lee.

“I have turkey hunted in many places. This is the cradle,” said Ralph Hobbs. “We’ve probably got one of the higher turkey numbers in the state. But we also have the most sophisticated turkeys because they’ve been hunted forever.”

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The episode was shot in the Dallas County area in 2004, and airs on Jan. 2 at 10:30 a.m. and Jan. 4 at 10 p.m. the repeat airing is partially due to the nearing of turkey season, which begins on March 15.

The presence of a cameraman — while not distracting — added confusion to the hunt.

“It was definitely different,” said Hugh Hobbs. “Without practice or doing it a lot, it takes getting used to.”

With a videographer sitting between the Hobbs duo, both hunters missed an easy target. They each spotted two turkeys, but there were actually three. Ralph called the turkey to the left, and Hugh called the one to the right. Both expected the other to kill the easy target.

“The one turkey that everybody could have killed that was point-blank that walked right up there in the mouth,” said Ralph Hobbs. “That turkey comes up, and nobody shoots the turkey that’s just point-blank. If there ever is a perfect illustration of how you can be shoulder-to-shoulder and see different things.”

Ironically, Ralph Hobbs has not seen the episode yet. But its airings have given him an opportunity to renew friendships.

“The big enjoyment was the number of people that called me from all over the country — from people I haven’t heard from in years — that had seen it or become aware of it,” said Hobbs.