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Past Winners and Their Stories
Chad from Pennsylvania
It was the opening day of spring turkey season and my best friend and I were taking my young cousin out for his first hunt. We had decided the week before we were not shooting but wanted to let him experience the highs and lows of spring turkey hunting.
We did a lot of scouting and found a good group of birds on my family's farm. Opening morning came with my friend and I more excited (I think) than my cousin (he was still half asleep). We jumped a couple of birds off the roost while walking in and became a little discouraged. My friend set up about 100 yards behind my cousin and I and planned on calling for us. I was going to help my cousin with the tactics if we had a bird come in.
After about a half hour of calling my friend came down to us and said he had at least two birds talking behind him. So we repositioned and started calling again. It was not more than 15 minutes and the birds were closing fast. At this point my cousin was awake and shaking with excitement. I told him to get his gun up and be ready because we were in a very thick area.
All of a sudden two turkeys came trotting by us not more than 50 yards from the opposite direction than we expected. One was a Jake, and was very interested in my friends calling. It stood just out of range in some brush replying to every sound my friend made. This was probably the second best part of the hunt because my cousin could watch a turkey make the sounds they do and the body language of the bird as they make the sounds. I knew it was only a matter of time until the bird would commit.
I whispered to my cousin to stop moving and his reply was I CANT STOP SHAKING. I was laughing to myself when the bird started in. We had already picked a good shooting window when the whole ordeal started. So when the bird stepped into the clearing nothing needed said. The shot rang out. The bird ran 20-30 yards and fell over. I was so excited I jumped up and just about pulled my cousin to his feet.
By the time we got up my friend was already on top of us. We went and gathered up his trophy and took the 10 minute walk down to my parents' house to talk about the events that just happened. I think we gave a round of congratulations every 30 seconds. My parents are also hunters and heard the shot, so they were waiting to see the results.
There were many pictures taken and phone calls made. We even walked down to our 91-year-old grandfather's house about a quarter mile away to show him (also a hunter). When my friend looked at his watch and said, "Do you realize what time it is?" I said it must be about 11:00 am. He said no, it's 8:30 am. We then proceeded to explain to my cousin it does not normally work out that well.
We then dressed the bird and two weeks later, at a family picnic, cooked it up. I think everyone had a piece. My cousin has now gotten the spring turkey hunting bug and can't wait until this spring's season. I told him we now need to focus on the upcoming deer season.
I think the best part of the hunt was the time we spent together and the look on his face after the shot. My friend agrees with me 100 percent. Plans are already in the works for a wonderful deer season (no matter if our tags are filed or not). It felt very rewarding for myself and my friend to be part of this first-time experience.
John from Massachusetts
I took friends of mine shooting at the Danvers Fish and Game in Danvers MA. I introduced them to shooting for the first time at a range. Sean joined the club shortly there after and he actually came in third at the club shoot this year. His fiance Kim will be joining next year after their wedding. She is about 5' tall but holds her own in skeet shooting. Both of them also do well in pistol shooting.
Russel from Wisconsin
I held a youth hunt in Wisconsin with help from the Department of Natural Resources. They provided 40 roosters and eight hen pheasants for the kids to hunt.
Each kid went out with a mentor and a dog to try and harvest two roosters each. We also planted the hens. This forced the new hunters to identify their target before shooting. It worked out great.
All of the kids also got to shoot clay birds and 22 spin targets and they shot over 2500 .22 shells and 600 shotgun rounds. We started the program at 8 a.m. and ended about 4:30 p.m. We served them burgers/brats/pork and beans, chips, water and soda at the end of the day. All the kids and parents had a day to remember for the rest of their lives, and so did I. It worked out so well that I'm already planning to do another one in the fall of 2008!
Scott from Indiana
I've been hunting for many years and any time someone asks me about hunting or expresses an interest in hunting, I make it a point to take them along with me.
Last year, I took my wife and stepdaughter hunting on private land. We bow-hunted, gun-hunted and muzzleloader hunted during the deer season. When turkey season finally came in, we went after toms as well.
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