P10401672 It’s been awhile since I’ve posted and I apologize for not having done so after promising to provide updates last weekend—the first weekend of New York’s turkey season. Problem is that things haven’t worked out so well for me.

Jake, my John-Byrne turkey dog, has provided me with many seasons of amazing moments in the fall woods. In fact, when I tried to recall them all during the past couple of days, but lost track. He wasn’t the greatest turkey dog in the world, but he was mine and he was really, really good. I hoped like hell to get one more season out of Jake.

His best buddy in the world was my daughter Amy and although she has shot two spring gobblers with me, she’s never taken a fall bird with her buddy, Jake. I tried desperately to make that happen last weekend.

We quickly got on some fresh scratchings on Sunday morning, however, Jake wasn’t much up to the task. Oh, his spirit was certainly more than willing, but after watching him stumble over a few deadfalls for the sixth time, I honestly could not take any more.

“THIS is breaking my heart,” I said to whomever would listen. “I can’t handle another second.”

Within the next few weeks, Jake will be put down–the pain of getting into my truck and running off after turkeys are just too great. I’m trying to come to grips with it.—Gerry Bethge