Breaking News!!! You’ll be relieved to know that the General Assembly is finally addressing the issue of illegal turkey toe and feather transportation and utilization in tool and utensil manufacture. Delegate Manoli Loupassi has introduced House Bill 360 which states: “Turkey parts. Allows the use or transportation of turkey feathers and toes taken from legally harvested turkey carcasses for the purposes of making tools or utensils or selling such tools or utensils.”
The War on Turkey Toes is over. The underground market can come out of the shadows. No longer will people have to go to street dealers to get their toes and feathers. Parents won’t have to wonder whether their children are buying “dusters” at school and using them in their rooms. No more will turkey toe and feather kingpins terrorize our communities with gun violence as they defend their turf, or “pens.”
Now people will be able to safely buy their turkey toes and feathers, as well as turkey toe and feather tools and utensils, in retail outlets. The toes and feathers will be inspected and, thus, be much safer than those purchased from unscrupulous street dealers. Plus, the commonwealth will bring in millions in much needed revenue as it taxes the huge turkey toe and feather market dealers have been exploiting for decades. Hats off to Loupassi!
Seriously, is this a real bill? If so, why on Earth has it been illegal to transport turkey toes and feathers anywhere? What tools and utensils have people been making out of turkey toes and feathers? Why hasn’t the 6:00 news shown trucks on the side of the road with handcuffed people in dirty tee shirts on the ground while police pull turkey toes and feathers from the trunk?
There must be a contest in the General Assembly to see who can write the most bizarre bill. Delegate Loupassi, you have won.
I just looked at the full text of the bill, and it’s actually an amendment to a law regarding hunting. Here is the relevant section.
10. To hunt, trap, take, capture, kill, attempt to take, capture or kill, possess, deliver for transportation, transport, cause to be transported, by any means whatever, receive for transportation or export, or import, at any time or in any manner, any wild bird or wild animal or the carcass or any part thereof, except as specifically permitted by law and only by the manner or means and within the numbers stated. However, the provisions of this section shall not be construed to prohibit
the (i) the use or transportation of legally taken turkey carcasses, or portions thereof, for the purposes of making or selling turkey callers , or using turkey feathers or toes for making tools or utensils or selling such tools or utensils; (ii) the manufacture or sale of implements, including, but not limited to, tools or utensils, made from legally harvested deer skeletal parts, including antlers ,; or (iii) the possession of shed antlers.
It still looks weird to me. I can understand the limitations of the hunting season, which this sections seems to allude to. I can even get that people make turkey callers out of turkey bones, though I can’t imagine how. I still can’t picture people making tools out of turkey toes and feathers. Feather dusters, maybe? I’ve never hunted. Perhaps that’s why I’ve never heard of people making tool or utensils out of turkey toes and feathers.
After further research, the story is weirder than I thought. There is a solid rationale for the law. A few years ago, Kevin Baker made a bow out of turkey toes and a copperhead skin. Just how big are these turkeys? Yes, I’m trying to visualize that, but we’ll take it as read. Baker is one of those guys who can live off the land by making his own tools and weapons and killing his own food. He makes stone knives and uses turkey toes for the handles. If the zombie apocalypse were to happen or our electrical grid were taken out, you’d want to be around somebody like Kevin.
When Kevin made his bow, it was against the law to use parts of animals one had killed, legally or illegally, for tools. I guess that it had something to do with conservation. Maybe more people would hunt because they would want to make turkey toe knife handles, and the wild turkey population would plummet. The authorities found out about Kevin’s turkey toe/copperhead skin bow and gave him two tickets. Kevin decided to fight back. Three years later, the law lifting the ban against using turkey toes and feathers for tool making is being debated by the oldest continually serving legislative body in the Western Hemisphere, the Virginia General Assembly. Only in America.