“He’s running right at us,” I whispered in a fever pitch to my 9-year-old son, Cole, who was already eyeing the electrified gobbler closing the distance. After hearing my calls the tom turned to see our tom and hen decoy on the field edge. He didn’t notice the ground blind just yards away from the faux pair.
Seconds later the tom skidded to a halt in a half-strut challenge a mere 9 yards from the end of Cole’s Thompson/Center barrel. “Shoot him,” I muttered, but before I could finish the words Cole toppled the big bird.
We had traveled to Kansas for Cole’s first turkey, and the trip couldn’t have been more memorable. Today Cole is 16, hunts on his own and even tagged his first elk, a 7-point bull he arrowed on a do-it-yourself hunt on public land. That first turkey put him on track to a long hunting career that is still in its infancy. If you hope to set your child on a similar course, then use their first turkey hunt to start them down that road.
Turkey hunting gives you the opportunity to provide a great first hunt for your child in a controlled setting. First, turkeys are plentiful from coast to coast. Most hunts can take place minutes from home. With the outstanding efforts from the NWTF, you’ll likely find a turkey adventure within an hour or so of most population centers.
Turkey hunting also allows you to take advantage of spring weather. You can watch the forecast and plan your hunt around days with minimal precipitation, and maximum sunshine value. There’s no need to hunt in a downpour and dampen the spirit of a budding hunter.
And who can ignore the excitement of turkey hunting? Distant gobbles, drumming, spitting and strutting all create an atmosphere with more stimulation than you can get from a supersized energy drink.