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.
Bust em, Bag em, thank HIm