I had the honor of going hunting this Spring with a Dad and his 13 year old daughter on the first day of the Illinois Youth turkey season. I have to say, after many years of hunts, this was as enjoyable as any that I've had and it actually had little to do with the hunt itself.
I was able to be with a fine man who obviously has the love and respect of his daughter. We too often hear about the bad things that go on with families today but I can tell you, there are some fine things as well. I was able to see a Dad who has spent time with his daughter and shows her that he cares for her and everything that she does. He was truly a guide and mentor to her in every respect. I could also see the admiration in her eyes for this man who was taking his time to spend with her.
We heard and saw a nice gobbler that came very close to us but Dad and daughter chose not to take the shot. It might have been a kill but they wisely decided to let him walk rather than take a risky shot. There were several lessons learned in the woods that day and one was of respect for the game.
I don't think that either Dad or his daughter will forget the sound of the woods awakening and of the gobbler coming to the call. They'll probably never forget the big black bird that came in to their blind in his search for that noisy hen. I'm just as sure that they will never forget the lesson that it's the hunt and not the kill that's important. They decided to let that bird walk rather than try to satisfy an urge to shoot.
I saw a lot in the woods that morning and hope I'll never forget seeing Dad and daughter walk out of the woods as happy as I've ever seen 2 hunters, just for being together and spending time in the great turkey woods.
"If he's out of range, it just means that he has another day and so do you."