Turkey hunting with a bishop?

March 6, 2009

Faith Outdoors

I got a surprising phone call the other day from Iowa. The caller was Joe Lane, a friend of Bishop Joe Charron, who was the bishop of Des Moines before being succeeded by Bishop Richard Pates last spring because of illness. During a visit to Iowa before Bishop Pates’ installation there, I got a chance to talk with Bishop Charron.

Not long into the conversation, the topic of wild turkey hunting came up and we discovered that each of us enjoys it very much. Bishop Charron tries to go every year and usually goes with Lane, who owns land in both Iowa and Missouri. Back then, Bishop Charron said he would talk to Lane about having me join them this spring.

I had forgotten that by the time the call came this week, but Bishop Charron hadn’t. In fact, he planned a trip to Missouri with Lane and instructed Lane to call me and extend the invitation to join them. They are looking at going the week of Missouri’s turkey opener, which is Monday, April 20. The nice thing about Missouri is hunters can buy a license over the counter, rather than enter a lottery, which is the practice in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa.

As Lane described his 220-acre piece of land in Missouri, I got more and more excited. He’s got great habitat with lots of birds, he said, and it looks like the three of us would be the first ones to hunt it this spring.

Now, with the weather warming and the snow melting, I’m thinking more about turkey hunting and getting pretty excited. I’ve already been drawn for a tag in both the Minnesota and Wisconsin lotteries. Hunting in Missouri would be a great bonus.

But, the hunt would come just a week after I get back from a two-week trip to Venezuela. I was invited there by Father Greg Schaffer, the director of the archdiocesan mission there. I will be there from March 29 to April 13, the day after Easter. I will take photos of the Holy Week and Easter liturgies there, which are more elaborate than almost anything we see here in the U.S. I may get a chance to fish for peacock bass and to visit some spectacular waterfalls, including Angel Falls, the highest waterfall in the world.

So, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to do both trips. Still, it’s fun to entertain the thought of going turkey hunting with Bishop Charron. If it doesn’t work this year, I’d like to do it someday. I think he’d be a lot of fun to hunt with and I sure hope to get a chance to do that.

About Dave Hrbacek

Staff photographer and writer for The Catholic Spirit. Also, avid outdoors enthusiast with a passion for hunting, fishing and photography. Married to Julie and have four children, three boys and a girl.

View all posts by Dave Hrbacek