I am currently preoccupied with life, loss and healing. For now – A repost of a story shared a couple of years ago because Turkey Hunting starts in just 17 days in our neck of the woods.
I love sharing the outdoor passion, hunting, fishing, hiking, and exploring with the kids. It is so rewarding to hear them talking and telling their stories. They are our future. It is great when I see a kid with respect for Mother Earth, and even better when they become connected to it through their experiences.
In Colorado, the kids can hunt if they pass the hunter’s safety course. They can not however hunt big game until they are 12 years old. They get to hunt small game, coyotes, prairie dogs, grouse, and turkeys. We found a love for turkey hunting when we approached the challenge of taking the kids.
We have a friend with a daughter the age as ours and have combined efforts with him to take the two girls hunting together. We took the Little Gal and her friend on their first turkey hunt one spring morning. The two girls were excited, and I am pretty sure one was nervous. We rode up a valley on horseback and spotted some fresh turkey droppings. They were definitely in the area. Our friend called to try to get a bird to talk. Nothing. We continued along up a hillside and to another draw. In the dust of the slope, we found fresh tracks. Another call was let out, and then an answer!
Above us on the ridge of a hill, we heard a tom gobble. The girls’ eyes sparked, and I know their hearts jumped with anticipation. We made a plan to get in closer to that gobbler.
Before we headed out, another call was chirped, and two gobblers answered. Perfect! Up the draw, we went.
We rode a short way and found a spot below the ridge on which we had heard the toms. A draw came down off that hill and opened up into a meadow. Our friend chirped on his call, and we heard the gobbles again. We decided this would be the spot to suit setting up two 10-year-old girls to get their birds. We would have to call them down that draw and into the clearing so they could have a good close shot.
Hank sat up close under some oak brush and downfall with the two girls. It sufficed as a perfect blind and rest for their shotguns. One girl on either side decided who would shoot first. The Little Gal’s friend was the winner, and the Little Gal would get a second shot if both toms happened to get close enough.
Our friend and I sat a little further behind to call. A little purr and then some chirping. We heard the gobbles off in the distance, but they were getting closer. Then we sat silent and waited. After several moments, we called again. The gobbles were even closer yet.
They were coming!
Hank sat with the girls who could not have been more still if you had asked them to. They were frozen with excitement. We sat behind and could not see any of the events but continued to call giving the toms time to come in. We heard one off toward the right and later one straight ahead. Closer and closer, slow but steady. The girls had their guns up on the rest. Hank told them to be ready, and they held their breaths.
Suddenly a tom appeared out in the middle of the draw. He appeared in full strut. He came forward toward the girls so suddenly. There was a gasp as the Little Gal’s friend lost her breath in awe and excitement. The tom heard the sound and turned immediately running for the brush. The excited little girl shot, but he wasn’t near enough.
That is when our friend and I heard all sorts of screaming and excitement from behind the brush. We jumped up to see if someone got a bird. It was the girls running and jumping with excitement. They could not believe they had seen a tom, much less a tom strutting toward them.
There was no bird to put in the satchel that day, but there was a lot of excitement, learning and fun by all. There is nothing like taking a kid for their first hunt. The moments in the field are priceless and some that I wouldn’t trade for anything.
It’s Always An Adventure!
Mia Anstine is an outdoor writer, licensed outfitter, hunting guide, life coach, keynote speaker, and range safety officer, firearms instructor, and archery instructor. She is the founder of MAC Outdoors and Host of the MAC Outdoors Podcast.
Mia Anstine strives to encourage others to get outside, hunt, fish, shoot, and survive life with others in a positive way.
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