“Nuts is what I am,” Tom ‘Doc’ Weddle admits. “I have a passion — no, call it a compulsion — and my life is empty without following that dream. Each spring, I look at a map and think, ‘What’s left?’ Then I head out in that direction.”
In Doc Weddle, passion and compulsion are fused into a pure obsession for maximizing the number of days spent in the presence of gobbling turkeys. You may love turkey hunting, even regularly sacrifice for it, and spend many waking moments thinking about it. But how many of us are actually bold enough to ask our bosses to give us turkey season off - not a couple weeks, mind you - but 3 solid months, from March to May, every year? Welcome to Doc’s world!
A carpenter from Indiana the other 9 months of the year, Weddle was infected by the turkey hunting bug some 30 years ago. Unwilling to compromise those glorious spring months by doing anything besides hunting, and even venturing afield for fall turkeys, Doc has no shortage of stories to tell. He loads his van, which he will live in, in February, for his annual pilgrimage, then drives at night so he can hunt all day. The vast majority of his exploits are solo hunts on public lands, all chronicled in Turkey Tails and Tales from Across the USA, available in 2 volumes (with a third on the way). Along the way, Doc has achieved 3 Super Slams, which is the feat of taking a turkey in each of the 49 states (all but Alaska) with a turkey season. Incredibly, he is just a few birds shy of his fourth and fifth Super Slam!
Lest you think Doc is just about killing turkeys, you will find him humble and respectful of every bird and hunt. This is not a boastful book chronicling and counting the number of turkeys taken; in fact Doc won’t share that information with anyone. He says, “I’ve seen a lot of America and gotten a total respect for these great birds.” Instead, as gifted storyteller, Doc gives us an amazing tale of the journey of a turkey hunter, and the unique birds and hunts discovered along the way. You will meet “The Professor,” a bird with 2 feathers sticking straight up from his head. You will respect his learning’s through his first two “dry” seasons, and the progression to his first double Grand Slam. Doc, like myself, is a meticulous journaler and has captured details in his stories that will transport you to the woods beside him. A screeching strand of fence wire eliciting a shock gobble, the dreadful click of a firing pin on an empty chamber, the misery of a week-long drenching rain, all followed up by a state by state review that all hunters will find helpful. Doc’s World is a magical place!
Doc Weddle may be nuts, but after reading his books, I’d gladly trade more of my time and sanity for the adventures and experiences he has enjoyed in his coast to coast pursuit of the wild turkey.
Doc’s books, Turkey Tails and Tales from Across the US, Volume 1 and 2, are available by contacting him (but don’t expect a response from March to May!) at email@example.com.