Go to an open field in an area where vultures are known to cruise around looking for dead stuff to eat. Lie down and drop a pile of fish or rabbit guts onto your chest. Wait. When a vulture comes to check you out as a potential meal, you real quick grab his neck and snap it. And then you enjoy a turkey vulture dinner.
This is the GQ forum, which means you should provide factual answers that you can actually back up. Have you ever interacted personally with a vulture? I have. And it didn’t smell any worse than any other bird. The unfeathered head stays generally clean of offal, unlike other carrion-eaters, like magpies, ravens, and eagles.
They are, however, rather nervous birds and will vomit on you defensively, which may well put you off your lunch ;).
Coincidentally I was talking about birds to the HVAC tech working on our heating system at work the other day ( never mind why ) and he mentioned that field workers dealing with remote gas pipelines running out in the middle of nowhere supposedly will sometimes introduce rancid animal oils instead of mercaptans into the natural gas. The idea is that line breaks will attract Turkey Vultures overhead, allowing the pipeline workers to more quickly trace the breaks from a distance. Whether it is true or not I have no idea, but it is certainly a clever thought.
ETA: Oh and I’m reminded of a museum collections manager I once knew who would stake out out roadkill he found on the cliffside deck of his country cabin and enjoy the spectacle of TV’s feeding from his living room.
Well, aside from the obvious problems caused by trying to kill a bird as big and strong as a vulture with your bare hands and avoid at the same time his beak and claws, there are other things:
If you find yourself in the rare situation of being able to startle a vulture, resist the temptation. When vultures feel threatened, they have a handy way of reacting: They induce vomiting. As repulsive as it seems, vultures aren’t the only members of the avian family to practice defensive vomiting. Herons, gulls and terns are known to do so as well [source: Deng].
Carrion-eating vultures take this scenario one step further when in harm’s way. Their defensive vomit is foul-smelling enough to drive away predators. If enemies approach too closely, the high amount of acid in the vomit is strong enough to burn them as well.
But that is not the worst. Eating vulture meat can have another unpleasant consequences:
In addition to scaring away predators, the vulture’s stomach acid also explains how it survives off its odd diet of rotting meat. Vultures will stay healthy even after eating the carcass of a sick animal. The bird’s stomach acid is so powerful that it breaks down the meat quickly, before any pathogens have a chance to infect it. But the acid may not kill bacteria completely as it moves through the body. Vulture feces, for instance, have carried traces of anthrax spores from contaminated animal flesh [source: Saggese et al].
I know a guy who is seriously into raptors. He tells a story of when as a boy and he and a friend tried to capture a turkey vulture. The bird vomited on his friend, and the result was so foul-smelling that the friend had to spend a week living in a tent in the backyard before he was allowed indoors.
But note that Indians used a variant of the OP’s technique to capture eagles: they would mostly bury one of their number, then tether a rabbit above his chest. An eagle who came to make a meal of the rabbit could be captured by grabbing its feet.
By far the most destructive armament on an eagle is it’s feet. Grabbing them will eliminate their use (and pulling forcefully outwards might kill the bird if need be). Failing to do that quickly may result in death, as the Central Asian eagleers (is that a word?) know.
When first reading this, I figured that, like the manly Southern sport of catfish grappling (you go out to mucky river areas, find a hole, and stick your hands down into it to grab a catfish by the mouth and wrestle it out of the water) vulture hunting might be a case of too much spirits and/or testosterone.
But, of course, there would be The Turkey Vulture Society, (bumperstickers available: “I Brake For Carrion”), to have facts and dispel myths:
So, unlike the eagles in above posts, the feet wouldn’t pose as much danger as other raptors, which can slice you up (personal experience) quickly. Turkey vultures do have a keen sense of smell and eyesight, so I don’t know that the OP’s scheme would fool them into coming close enough to make a neck grab.
And, as said, it’s illegal, they’re protected under law. Seems like it would be some bad mojo, too, in picking a non-aggressive bird that doesn’t kill, functions as a clean-up crew for the nastiness left behind, and then takes it up into the air in the most glorious flight.
Such an amazing contrast, their ability to soar, and their helplessness on the ground. I’ve transported injured ones to a wildlife shelter, and, yep, the vomit thing they do because of that vulnerablity is really horrid smelling, the worst nasty gagging smell ever. But, then, I also remember looking at the vulture as we’d take him into the shelter, and, he’d look helpless and "embarrassed, off in the corner, hunkered down on the ground where he wasn’t meant to be. Didn’t do an aggressive display like the hawks, just hunkered down and mournful.
Doesn’t seem like much sport after knowing all that.
Eagles would be acting on sight alone, so very possible to catch them with that ruse. Turkey vultures are one of the few birds to have a keen sense of smell, so it’s quite possible to have them distinguish human smell vs the offering, and shy away from the whole shebang.
Of course, we haven’t had any hard test evidence to demonstrate it one way or the other, though. I’m thinking about it, knowing their non-agressive tendencies…