TURKEY HUNTING AND THE PRACTICE OF LAW

  
At the end of May each year, I seem to get a little depressed for a couple of weeks. This is probably because turkey season in Georgia usually ends on May 15 and the woods have become hot and uncomfortable to navigate.

From late April until the middle of May, I am either working, at home, or at the hunting camp in Meriwether County. My assistant, Lynn, calls this the “Meriwether Office.” There is actually some truth to that at times when briefs need to be written in a peaceful and quiet environment.

While you may think that devoting so much time to turkey hunting in the spring is just for fun, it actually has some distinct benefits which I believe make me a better lawyer. In fact, turkey hunting can improve the hunter’s career life regardless of what line of work one is involved in.

Here are just some of the qualities that you must possess and improve on as a turkey hunter:

1. DISCIPLINE – Most turkey hunts begin well before the crack of dawn. You have to get out of bed at an early hour to prepare your gear, get to your hunting location, and be ready to hunt just as the darkness becomes morning in the woods. If you are driving from home in the morning, this includes driving time which makes it necessary to get up and going even earlier.

Discipline at work is obviously necessary to becoming successful at what you do. Doing the difficult things that require actions that may not be the most pleasant aspect of a case or project put all of the pieces together necessary for a job well done.

2. PATIENCE – For me, this is the most difficult part of hunting. I like to move around and tend to get impatient when a gobbler does not come right to my calls. But, I have learned over the years that patience is key in the turkey woods. This year, I was set up near a road on my property and was calling to a gobbler for about two hours. He kept gobbling, but would not come close enough to my location. I was just about to get up and head back to the Jeep when he, along with several other birds, appeared right in front of me on the road. He eventually moved within 30 yards and I pulled the trigger. The picture in this column shows me with the bird that I harvested that morning.

The practice of patience at work and home is vitally important to happiness in life. In my law practice, patience from myself and my clients may be the most important aspect of a case. Well thought out and very deliberate decisions can be the difference between prison and probation in many instances. Hurried, “knee-jerk” reactions to developments in a case are dangerous and can lead to disastrous results.

3. HUMILITY – Hunting the elusive Eastern Wild Turkey can, and often is, an extremely humbling experience. Turkeys are very intelligent animals gifted with sharp eyesight. They are also unpredictable. The best laid plans for the hunt are frequently ripped apart by the actual hunt in the woods. This usually happens just as you start believing that your hunting skills are better than they actually are. In reality, most ventures into the outdoors result in the hunter getting back into the truck without a gobbler.

Some would disagree, but humility is one of the very top character qualities that a human being can possess. Those who lack humility tend to come across as arrogant, treat co-workers and others with contempt, and insist that they can handle any problem on their own. In a law practice, and I would imagine in other careers, lacking humility is about as destructive as any character defect could be. No one wants to do business with, associate with, or be around an arrogant man or woman.

Turkey hunting is just one example of a non-work activity that can actually help a person become better at their career. I am sure that other challenging activities provide healthy benefits as well. I encourage you to get out and pursue healthy adventures that can benefit you in ways that you may not have thought of.