Pickerel Lake area woman writes of her adventures hunting wild turkeys

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Berdette Zastrow goes through her new book, "Fan Tales," during an interview. American News photo by Shannon Marvel

By Shannon Marvel | [email protected]

A northeastern South Dakota woman has captured the excitement and hilarity of turkey hunting throughout the country in a book titled “Fan Tales, A Chronicle of Wild Turkey Hunting Stories.”

Berdette Elaine Zastrow, 76, of Pickerel Lake said she penned the stories after receiving encouragement from those she’s taken out on turkey hunts.

“All my friends that I’ve taken turkey hunting said this is so much fun, we’ve had so many crazy things happen to us — so many funny things — that you’ve got to write about it. And you’ve got to write about it before you forget or we all forget,” Zastrow said.

First time

The book begins with her detailing her first-ever wild turkey hunt, which was during the fifth annual Governor’s Invitation Black Hills Wild Turkey Hunt in 1990.

Zastrow was a board member on the state Game, Fish and Parks Commission at the time. She’s done considerable writing about the outdoors during her career.

“I went to that hunt and from there on, it’s the book. I loved it, it was exciting and fun. After I learned how to do it correctly and was confident enough that I could go out by myself and bring a turkey home, then I invited friends to go along. So I introduced a lot of people to turkey hunting, which is really what I’m all about. I’ve had so much fun in the outdoors, and I want to get more people involved, especially women and kids,” Zastrow said.

She already has one other book under her belt called “Woman’s Guide to Hunting.”

But her book about stories of wild turkey hunts focuses less on the how-to of it all, and more on the experiences themselves.

“The more people I got into it, the more fun I had teaching them and seeing the expression on their face — their eyes would just like up when they got their first bird,” Zastrow said of taking others out.

The adventures take place in northeastern South Dakota, the Black Hills, Missouri, New York and Iowa.

“It’s a very exciting experience because the hunter acts as the hen and ‘makes’ the male (gobbler) come to her. That is a reversal of nature, as usually the females go to the males. So with your calls and strategy, you actually reverse turkey action in nature. Being able to do that by yourself is a challenge, and that’s why I love it so much,” she said.

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To buy Berdette Zastrow’s book, “Fan Tales,” email a request to [email protected] or message Zastrow on her Facebook page at facebook.com/berdette.zastrow. The cost is $25.