Into the Fold
The shuffle of leaves mixed with soft yelps grew louder in the crisp air of an autumn morning.
"Stacy, they're coming in!" I whispered excitedly. "Get your gun up!"
As she had practiced, my 11-year old daughter quickly brought her gun to her knee. We sat motionless, both peering in the direction of the approaching turkeys. Seventy yards away a blue head appeared through the fall foliage. Another head appeared, and then another. In a line, 12 turkeys made their way toward our position. At 50 yards, the birds turned and began walking to our left.
"It looks like they're going to walk by us out of range," I said. "Just relax."
The flock covered 20 yards, but they turned and began feeding directly toward us. We tensed with anticipation.
"My gun is pointed the wrong way," Stacy whispered. "What can I do?"
Forty yards, 30 yards-the turkeys continued their approach.
"Stacy," I whispered, "this is probably going to spook the flock, but it's our only chance. Turn quickly and aim your gun at that lead hen."
In one quick move, Stacy turned 90 degrees to face the turkeys. Instead of bolting, the entire flock stood still with stretched necks.
"Aim carefully and shoot that lead hen. She's close enough," I whispered anxiously.
From the corner of my eyes, I watched as Stacy aimed. Seconds passed.
"Now?" she asked.
Boom!!! At the shot, the turkey staggered and disappeared behind a white oak. I jumped up and ran to where the turkey had stood. With turkeys running and flying in all directions, I looked behind the oak, and there lay Stacy's turkey. I grabbed its feet and held the bird high to show it to her.
"I did it, Dad!" she yelled. "I did it!"
I have been blessed with three children, a son and two daughters. With each I have enjoyed memorable times in the turkey woods. All three have tagged turkeys, and all three now say that turkey hunting is one of their favorite sports. If you have youngsters that you hope to introduce to the joys of turkey hunting, here are some techniques that worked for me.
If you are enthusiastic about turkey hunting, your enthusiasm will naturally rub off on your children. Consider keeping a photo album of every turkey you tag, and let your kids be in the photos with you. This way they can be in on the action, even when they are toddlers. Between seasons you can flip