There’s a small pond near our house that my daughter and I like to walk around and throw rocks in. There are always 10-12 turtles hanging out all around the perimeter of the pond, relaxing and soaking up the warm rays of the sun. It’s almost as if they’re in a summer coma.
We like to spot them from a distance and see how close we can get before they freak out and dive for safety. Before long, my daughter’s patience inevitably runs dry, giving way to the textbook high-pitched scream and wobbly forward dash. Of course, the turtles perceive us as a threat and disappear quickly within the depths of the pond, only to resurface a dozen yards away.
But today, we went to a different pond. This particular pond gets tons of visitors each day as there’s a paved walking trail all the way around the perimeter. As usual, we spotted several turtles sunbathing. As we began to approach them, they quickly dove. A few seconds later they reappeared just a few feet from where we were standing. These turtles wanted food, and they were used to people giving it to them. So, when they saw us, they didn’t dive for cover, they dove for dinner! I’m pretty sure we could have picked up each turtle and gave hugs all around (at least that’s what she wanted to do ).
On the way home, all of this became a great reminder that all animals respond to human pressure in some way. Depending on where we hunt, we’re counted as either a tolerable intrusion, or as an intolerable threat. The turtles at the small pond will not tolerate a wrong step at 30 yards. They’re used to having rocks (or lead) thrown at them, and probably have several other negative memories of humans. Meanwhile, the turtles at the zero-consequence, buffet style pond literally swim towards you. They can’t recall bad things happening to them as a result of interacting with humans. So, as I hunt public land exclusively, these silly little turtles have re-taught me a valuable lesson in my pursuit of mature whitetails: Pressure changes the game.
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“I’ve always believed that the mind is the best weapon.” John Rambo
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Happiness is a large gutpile!!!!!!!