IN 1970, A ROCK ‘n’ roll song entered the American charts, climbing all the way to No. 1 on the Cashbox list and to No. 5 on the Hot 100 list.

The name of the song was “Indiana Wants Me” and the lyrics soon explained that the fellow being sung about was not wanted as a valued contributor to society. Instead, he was wanted for killing a man who insulted his wife. Now, how a song with that story line ever charted that high is a mystery to me, but it did. 

Perhaps the fact that the guy who recorded the song was Canadian would explain it, as Mike Baxter of “Last Man Standing” — who has nothing good to say about his sitcom Canadian son-in-law or Canada in general — would claim, but hey, history said it was a big hit.

This is a long, roundabout way of saying that though Indiana may not want me, Illinois does. Wisconsin most definitely does not. It seems Wisconsin does not want me every other year or so the tale of unrequited love, er, turkey permit applications would have me believe.

Maybe it’s just that I am very unlucky when it comes to hunting permit draws, but I am beginning to suspect the Department of Natural Resources computer that selects successful permit applicants has it in for me. How else would you explain practically every turkey hunter I know getting a tag every year or almost every year, while I only get one every other year by virtue of the bonus point I get each year I am not selected?

Illinois, while relying on a similar computer to select its permit recipients, has only rejected me one time in all the years I’ve applied there. Perhaps that state’s computer likes the $166.25 I contribute to its state’s treasury more than Wisconsin values the $20 and change I give to our state treasury for the privilege of hunting turkeys in the spring. I dunno.

Whatever the case, my Wisconsin season this spring will consist of going out several mornings by myself without a gun to simply sit and call in gobblers, birds which I can only look at and drool over as they strut, purr and drum 25 yards away from me.

I may get a chance to call in a gobbler for a friend, as I have a couple times, and that will be enough to get me out in the woods at 4:30 a.m. on a cold April morning as well.

That said, being scorned by the state I have honored, respected and called home for going on 70 years is hard to take and sometimes, I curse the day I became addicted to turkey hunting, an addiction that is only surpassed by my addiction to watching, adoring, hunting, and eating wild ducks and geese.

Thankfully, though Wisconsin doesn’t want me, Illinois wanted me enough to reward me with a first season tag which begins April 10. I know it could be a crapshoot as to the weather that early in April, but generally, the hills, ridges and valleys of Jo Daviess County are usually clear of snow by that time.

Perhaps the best part about my hunts in Illinois is spending time with the Harmston family, close friends since the mid-’80s, when I first met them in my ice cream shop during their annual camping trips to Razorback Lake.

Anne and Terry Harmston were two of the best people I’d ever met along life’s road, and though we lost Terry at the way too young age of 59, I’ll never forget our adventures on various lakes around this neck of the woods which he and I fished from his canoe every summer for about 20 years or so.

The Harmston boys, Matt and Greg, were around 9 or 10 when I first met them and that was about the last time I was taller than either. At 6 foot, 4 or 5 inches, both tower above me now. Although when it comes to telling hunting stories — all of mine true, while some of theirs are a wee bit exaggerated — I still stand above them. 

Once again this spring, I will spend up to five days at the Peg and Greg Harmston Hotel, where I will sleep comfortably in a basement bedroom I’ll have all to myself and, more importantly, I will eat their steaks and drink Greg’s Crown Royal the entire time.

I’ll also be seeing the rest of the Massbach Ridge gang which includes Tommy John, Ernie, Curt and Brock. Maybe even I’ll get a big hug from Tommy John’s wife like she gave me the first time we met, an evening when she mistook me in dim light for a local friend of the gang.

Usually, my favorite spot for hunting turkeys in Illinois is on a piece of land belonging to Brock which is nicknamed “The 150,” perhaps because it consists of 150 acres. I shot my first Illinois gobbler there quite a few years ago and on the same property killed the biggest gobbler I’ve ever gotten, be it from Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, Kentucky or Tennessee.

This year, though, I may open the season on a piece of ground Greg bought last year. According to him and the good doctor that he is I know he wouldn’t lie, he kicked up 62 turkeys during a visit there last week; sounds like my kind of turkey woods. Get enough of them together and at least one can usually be counted on to be dumb enough to come to my calls.

Seriously, some of my best turkey hunts anywhere have been in the little slice of wildlife heaven the Harmstons and friends call home in Illinois. It is far away from Chicago, Ill., a place they share my disdain for, and it has steep hills and ridges covered with oaks, cedars and other trees which turkeys and deer love.

It is only about 15 miles the way the crow flies to the Mississippi River and the countryside has, I daresay, a ruggedness and beauty that will stand second to none for someone after gobblers and trophy bucks.

Massbach Ridge country is a place I will be thrilled to see in just over a month from now; and filled with steaks and Crown at night, fish to catch from the Harmston and Wackerlin ponds and, oh yeah, gobblers to hunt, I will be, as Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson would say “Happy, happy, happy.”