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Here for the Gobble

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Published on: Feb. 2, 2008

Last revision: Dec. 7, 2010

And here I was on a gentle, warm spring day, on what I could now see was gorgeous property, and this was more than enough success for me on my very first day out.

“I’m in it for the gobble, not the gobbler,” said Julia Kitchen, the first woman to take a turkey through the Missouri Outdoor Women program in 2003. Suddenly, I knew exactly what she meant.

I could have returned home happy and victorious, with or without a bird in my cooler.

“So, do you want to try again tomorrow?” asked Eddie.

“Ab-so-lutely,” I answered, without hesitation.

Eddie laughed, shook his head and told me he’d see me in the morning. “On time!” he called out, as I, grinning madly, ducked into my car.

Does this make me bilingual?

I liked the idea of it. Time outdoors, a personal challenge and a new reason for fun with the people I cared about. And if I happened to secure a tasty dinner along the way, well, I wouldn’t complain.

It didn’t require a lot of specialized equipment. It didn’t require great physical strength or endurance. Most importantly, it didn’t require that I subject myself to anything more grueling than an early morning. Nearly anyone should be able to hunt turkeys.

It would, however, require a little training and some humility.

The humility was a problem.

My stepfather and fiance were dedicated turkey hunters. I worked with turkey hunters. They were all very keen on the idea that I could and should give it a try. Anytime I wanted to learn, they said …

But I couldn’t. I was too self-conscious. Afraid of making a fool of myself, I wasted two spring seasons making excuses.

I had nearly resigned myself to giving up the idea, when I saw a notice for a Missouri Outdoor Women turkey hunting clinic. It was free, it was run by experts, and, best of all, I didn’t know anyone there. I called to sign up that day.

I felt a bit guilty. I had capable instruction at home, but here I was going to strangers. I was sure that the other women attending the event lacked such resources.

Then I arrived at the clinic and met a group of women who were just like me. Though some of them didn’t know anyone that they could ask for guidance, many had relatives, friends and spouses who were turkey hunters. They just felt more comfortable with the idea of learning with other

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