28. April 2011 07:43
The promotion of hunting starts with experienced hunters mentoring the new. Recently we had our 9th annual Learn to Turkey Hunt event with 30 new hunters ranging in age from 10 years old to early 40’s.
The entire Learn to Hunt Group
This program is a sponsored program by both the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and our local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation. The hunters must complete a 4 hour mandatory class covering all aspects of turkey hunting, including gun safety. This year our event took place on April 9th and 10th throughout areas of Iowa and Sauk counties in southwest Wisconsin. Each hunter was one-on-one with his or her own mentor, hunting on land that the mentor had secured for the weekend. The morning started out as every other year, with text messages back and forth between mentors trying to figure out what birds were doing on the different properties within our hunting area. For us, things started out quiet with a couple birds gobbling on roost off in the distance. Once the birds hit the ground, things got quiet. At approx. 8:15, I tried a different approach - I left the blind and got aggressive with my calling and making noises in the field and woods, sounding like turkeys. I returned within a few short minutes to join my wife and our hunter in the comfort of the blind. The aggressive approach seemed to work because, within 15 minutes, we had 2 longbeards within 20 yards. Our little girl brought the gun to her shoulder with my help and steadied it on her shooting sticks. The first gobbler turned and gave her a shot. She took the safety off but no shot went off. I was trying to coach her through the process as she says “I am on him” one more time. I repeated to her to squeeze the trigger slowly. This time her response was “I can’t reach the trigger”. Due to the cold morning, she had worn 2 more layers of clothes than she had the other 2 times we had been out patterning the shotgun. By the time we got things so she could reach the trigger, it was too late and the birds were out of range. We had 5 hens show up and hang out in the decoys for about 45 minutes; however, another opportunity never arose for our little hunter.
We packed our things and headed to the luncheon, where we heard lots of other stories with misses and other similar mishaps like ours. Overall, the weekend was a huge success with 11 dead birds, 7 misses and many close encounters and, most importantly, a lot of new turkey hunters excited to start pursuing a new love and the sport of hunting.
The successful 7 ealy morning hunters