Spring turkey hunt memories from the field:
I love sharing the outdoor passion, hunting, fishing, hiking, 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 that has respect for Mother Nature and even better when they become connected to it through their experiences.
In Colorado, the kids can hunt as long as they are able to pass the hunter’s safety course. They cannot, however, hunt big game until they are 12 years old. The kids get to hunt small game, coyotes, prairie dogs, grouse, and of course turkey. We found a greater love for turkey hunting when we approached the challenge of taking the kids.
We have a friend with a daughter the age of ours and combined our efforts with him to take the two girls hunting. One spring morning we took the two on their first turkey hunt. The two girls were excited, and I am certain one was a little nervous. We rode up a valley on horseback and spotted fresh turkey droppings. Turkey were definitely in the area. Our friend let out a call to try to get a bird to talk. Nothing. We continued along up a hillside and to another draw. There we found fresh tracks in the dust on a slope. Another call was let out, immediately followed by an answer!
Up 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.
Another call was chirped before we headed out. This time 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. We heard the gobbles again. We decided this would be a suitable spot for setting up two 10-year-old girls to get their birds. We would have to call the toms down that draw and into the clearing so the girls could have a close enough shot.
We set the girls up under some oak brush and behind some downfall. It sufficed as a perfect natural blind and rest for their shotguns. The girls sat side by side and then decided who would shoot first. The Little Gal was nervous, so it was agreed that our friend’s daughter would shoot first. The Little Gal would get second shot if both toms happened to come within range.
Our friend and I sat a little further behind, but still within eyeshot, to call. A little purr and then some clucking. 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 closer yet.
They were coming!
The girls were so excited that they were frozen with excitement. We sat behind and continued to call giving the toms time to come in. We heard one off toward the right, and seconds later one straight ahead. Closer and closer they came. Slow but steady. The girls had their guns up on the rest. Hank told them to be ready. (Later he told us they were so excited they held their breaths.)
Suddenly a tom appeared out in the middle of the draw. He was in full strut, spinning and turning. Then he drummed. Moving toward the girls suddenly. Then we heard a gasp as our friend’s daughter lost her breath in awe and excitement. The tom heard the sound and turned immediately, running for the brush. The excited girl took her shot. Dust flew, but the tom was already out of range.
We heard all sorts of screaming and excitement going on. The girls laid down their guns and were running and jumping around. They could not believe they had gotten to see a tom, much less a tom strutting toward them.
In the end, there was no bird to put in the satchel that day, but there was a lot of excitement, learning and fun had by all.There’s nothing like taking a kid for their first hunt. The moments in the field are priceless for sure and some that I wouldn’t trade for anything.
It’s Always An Adventure!
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