Assisting new hunters, things to remember

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Assisting new hunters, things to remember

Postby eggshell » May 8th, 2012, 1:32 pm

I used to regularly take newbies turkey hunting but haven't for several years. I try to help fellow turkey hunting buddies if they are having tough seasons, but I haven't regularly assisted other hunters for a few years now. I used to have a gentleman or two I took for years, but one died and the other is in poor health. Maybe that's a fault, but I just one day decided I didn't need to be dragging people into my turkey woods. Part of that is because I lost more than a couple of good spots to people I had taken, there is no shame for some.

Now for the point of this post: Last fall my daughter decided to take up hunting after not wanting any part of it for the first 28 years of her life. I was excited to take her and it added new life to being in the turkey woods. The problem is i have become so accustomed to being with seasoned hunters I expected too much of her. I coached her on some shooting tips and basic turkey hunting do and don't points, but somehow my brain expected her to react and perform to my expectations. I took her on a few fall hunts and she missed a nice gobbler. Now this spring i was waiting for her to go on the thunder birds. Finally Sunday she was ready and I told her to be ready at 5:30 AM, which evoked a moan. so I gave and said 5:45 to 6:00 trying to understand I had to keep it more fun than pain. well when we got to the woods I already felt we were late and was in high gear going out the ridge, but I had to remember the urgency wasn't mutual. When we got to the spot I wanted a gobbler sounded off on cue. I rushed to find a set up, and chose a spot just like I would have for myself; just above the gobbler and back off a break about 20-25 yards, so when we saw the bird he should be in the kill zone. Every thing was progressing just as I would have my hunt go, the bird was answering and coming. Every time I looked she was fidgeting or pointing her gun the wrong way. I assumed she would know the gobbler was going to swing around and come down the old log road, because I knew that. Finally he gobbled just over the rise and I whispered to her to shift to that side and get her gun up. The gobbler was taking his good ole time finishing the walk in, but I could hear him spitting and drumming. After a few minutes she whispers that she can't hold the gun up any longer, so I tell her to lower it to her knee. That ole bird stayed just out of sight for 10 minutes and I noticed she had scooted away from the tree and was struggling to sit upright. so I whispered to her I was going to rise up and take a look. I did and caught the old bird strutting with his fan to us, so he didn't see me. He was only 25-30 yards. so I told her to get on her knee and raise up to shoot. she did and I rose with her. There he was 25 yards and oblivious to our presence. so naturally I tell her, shoot him. I hear the safety go off, but no shot. He is still strutting so i wait and no shot. I say it again shoot him, he raises his head and no shot I impatiently say, "shoot him now". Well after about 5 "shoot hims" he runs off and I look at her and say why didn't you shoot. She was upset by then and said first she was having a hard time picking up the sights and getting on his head, second her glasses were fogging and she wasn't accustomed to shooting off hand so the gun was wobbly. She was afraid of not making a clean kill so she didn't shoot. I was aggravated and proud at the same time.

Now what I should have done. First remember that I can't expect a newbie to automatically know how to react, second be patient, third I should of set up so she could watch him come in and get ready, also that way see the show. Then I needed to keep my mouth shut as my urging her to shoot was only making her more nervous and uncertain of what to do. I am afraid I made the hunt less enjoyable for her. So please remember as you take newbies, to be patient and not weigh them down with your expectations. A large part of enjoying the hunt is learning and experiencing. Later we made another set up on a gobbler and I sat her so she could see a long ways. A boss hen got really pissed and came running to us and spent 20 minutes circling us purring and yelping, while ole tom hung up out at 75 yards. After both birds left she said that was neat, and when we got home it was the hen story she told her mom, not the gobbler got away story. so try and remember it's not just bagging the gobbler that newbies need, it's having a good experience. I will leave the "hunt for a kill" set ups to my seasoned buddies from now on and try to just have fun with my daughter.

I have called in three other gobblers for my buddies this season, but I'd trade them for just one more good set up with my daughter and this time I'm going to be more patient and less critical.....if she bags a gobbler then we'll do the high five jump up down and if she doesn't she won't hate hunting with me.
Last edited by eggshell on May 9th, 2012, 6:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Assisting new hunters, things to remember

Postby ticklishtompro » May 8th, 2012, 9:50 pm

Some good points that we forget about too easily! I have taken out several newbies this year, the 1st scored a nice 3 year old, while 1 missed, and the 3rd had the opportunity, but didn't get it done. The good thing is the 3rd was an adult, and just didn't get turned before they were in veiw. He deer hunts and thought it was easier to move on them, yet he is hooked on turkey hunting now as even though he didn't get a bird, we had a lot of action. I always look at it that as long as they had some events that they can tell stories about it was a good hunt.

I love taking out newbies, even though it can be frustrating, but if they do score, it is priceless. I also remember back when I was new and someone else took me out and I screwed up. That is why I started a Learn To Hunt program 5 years ago, best thing I have ever done!

Great post to make us all remember why we really hunt!
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Re: Assisting new hunters, things to remember

Postby xcal1ber » May 8th, 2012, 11:47 pm

Good post Dana. I agree 100%, it is so easy to forget that a newbie is just that, a new person to the sport. You can not expect them to know as much as yourself and it is easy to forget to keep them calm and let them know what to do, all while being patient at the same time, especially when a gobbler is closing the distance. Even though you try to tell them everything you can before the hunt, there is some things that you will forget to tell them. Patients is the key to taking a newbie because you really want them to kill a bird that it frustrates you if the mess up but most of the time in their mind, all they want to do is see one and hear one gobble.
There's more fun in hunting with the handicap of the bow than there is in hunting with the sureness of the gun.
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Re: Assisting new hunters, things to remember

Postby ylpnfol » May 9th, 2012, 10:37 am

nice job eggshell, neither of my kids hunt, and i partially blame myself [ for my son especially, my daughter not so much ] for not being patient enough, and for starting him out going deer hunting, which can be boring at times, i took a youngster this past monday on his first turkey hunt, and heard/saw nothing, we didn't stay very long because i fiqured he would get bored from a lack of " action ", which i detected in his voice somewhat, i just hope the day didn't turn him off to turkey hunting, i guess time will tell....

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Re: Assisting new hunters, things to remember

Postby Cut N Run » May 9th, 2012, 10:06 pm

Dana, Good for you for nurturing the hunting instincts in your child. My father never hunted a day in his life and I feel like I've been missing some of that relationship one can only build while hunting together. It is difficult to gauge an individual's passion for hunting. I often wonder if it is there and just needs the flames fanned, of if that person is doing what you love to do in your free time to build the relationship between the two of you stronger. Since I have no children, I can only dream what it must be like to lead a child down the road of outdoor pursuits. I always try to help open my nephew's eyes to the outdoors when I can, but I just don't get to visit with them much, being a few states away.

It is a wonderful thing that your daughter wanted to make sure everything was the best it could be before committing to taking a shot. Your vast experience has to be difficult to contain when you see an ideal shot presented, yet none are taken in as timely a manner as you'd judge. I remember what my nerves were like on early turkeys of mine and can only guess how I'd perform with someone looking over my shoulder.. Some of that will change with more birds taken. I fully understand the desire to have things work out the best, yet I can recall the uncertainty and apprehension when you're not 100% tuned in to your gear and don't have the proper mental attitude yet. Stay with it, it will improve.

Just like any beginner, allow them some slip ups and individuals to develop their own rhythm in turkey hunting. One thing I do when I'm calling for another hunter is to cluck sharply on the call as a signal for the shooter to take the shot. I usually practice it with them at the range if they're new hunters, or I explain for them to be ready to shoot when they hear those clucks, because it helps get that gobbler's head up and gives the shooter an audible signal to fire on. I hope this helps. I also sincerely hope you and your daughter get to spend lots of successful hunts together for many years.

Good luck & have fun.

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Re: Assisting new hunters, things to remember

Postby spurgirl » May 10th, 2012, 11:16 am

That was such a beautiful story. Having hunted with my sons for years I can relate. It is sometimes hard to relinquish control when we are driven more for the harvest than the hunt. Dont beat yourself up for what you think you did wrong just be glad you had an experience together.

When my youngest son was just a shrimper he wanted to go out in the blind with me. We never saw a bird that morning. On the way back in I told him I was sorry we didnt get to see any. He turned to me and said, "Thats OK Mom, it was so cool to watch the sun rise and see the song birds and the deer." There he stood in his over sized camo jumpsuit with the pant legs draggin in the mud sporting a huge smile like we had been successful.
I guess we were.
So were you.

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Re: Assisting new hunters, things to remember

Postby dewey » May 11th, 2012, 12:07 am

spurgirl wrote:When my youngest son was just a shrimper he wanted to go out in the blind with me. We never saw a bird that morning. On the way back in I told him I was sorry we didnt get to see any. He turned to me and said, "Thats OK Mom, it was so cool to watch the sun rise and see the song birds and the deer." There he stood in his over sized camo jumpsuit with the pant legs draggin in the mud sporting a huge smile like we had been successful.
I guess we were.
So were you.

Sounds like a young man that is wise well beyond his years. I have had the pleasure to take my now 12 year old nephew with me on a hunt in 2009. We hunted for a few hours in the morning until he got pretty tired so I said let's go in for breakfast so I didn't burn him out. Later that day I got one and he came over to see the bird and I told him that I did it because of his help. The next year I was able to guide him on his first turkey hunt and we were successful. Afterwards I asked him how confident he was that we would get one and he said he asbo't very confident since we firm't get one the year before and you can't get one egg year.

I am super excited for my 2 year old son to start hunting with me in a few more years. Like others have said it is tough when you can help them with lessons you have already learned the hard way but some of those lessons need to be learned he hard way. I my opinion the important thing is that we keep offering to take them with and not try to force our obsession on them and see if we can develop the obsession in the next generation.

My 2 cents.

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Re: Assisting new hunters, things to remember

Postby BigBuckeye » May 11th, 2012, 1:58 pm

These are some great points Dana and with birth of my son a two weeks ago, I hope to remember them when I introduce him to the things I love and feel I am good at so that in time, he may get the same enjoyment that I do.

Thanks again and good luck with your daughter, at least she is out there :)
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Re: Assisting new hunters, things to remember

Postby mark hay » May 12th, 2012, 1:36 pm

Very good post Dana. Though I haven't been training persons in their youth , I have been working with grown men for some time now . One of the toughest aspects for me is to allow a newbie to run a call. Not because I believe myself to be an error free caller but simply because the errors seem more prevalent in those that haven't spent years at the calling part of the game . One of many things I have learned is that there are certain sounds that can be produced on a call that will ruin a hunt. Learned that one by my own mistakes .
But , the newbie wants to participate with tthe calling . So I must be willing to allow their calling to be part of the hunt .

Last sunday morning , Woodchuck and I were inching towards a certain spot when a gobbler flushed from a tree ahead of us .I noted his general direction of flight and we moved on . Twenty yards farther and a second bird flushed , going a different direction from the first bird . We reached our spot and set up and called sparingly for 30 minutes . NOTHING . We then went in the direction of the first bird . I was clucking and yelping gobbler fashion and doing a lot of leaf raking with a wing . During a pause in the calling a bird gobbled . We just stood quiet . He gobbled again . And again . Now he's moving toward us . I pick a set up and we get ready . I raked the leaves and he gobbled inside 75 yards . Then I hear this odd sounding yelping . It had the cadence of a hen but the sound was more like a gobbler ,,,yet not quite good enough . Now I trying to figure things out . We allow some time to pass in silence , with no more gobbles being heard . I finally come to the conclusion that another hunter had come in a boogered our game . We got to our feet and stood whispering about what I thought had taken place . Chuck is a pretty opened minded feller and was unhappy with the events yet willing to chalk it up as experience .
So while I'm standing there working my little brain Chuck pulls out his wing and began raking the ground . Followed by some good stretch n flap imitations . GOBBLE! Inside 75 yards . I would have walked away convinced all had been ruined by another hunter that could not run his call ,,,which turned out to be a gobbler that had a speech handicap...We set up again and fooled that bird into 20 yards but the teacher failed to make sure the newbie had his gun trained to the proper spot . we got busted .Sometimes I try too hard and overlook the obvious.
Over the past 27 years I have trained several poeple on setting up molds in various types of machines . I soon learned that I was becoming a better set up person myself . I suppose it is the same with training a hunter ,,,,I know I have greatly improved in my abilities since I began helping others .

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