Monday, May 14, 2012

The Wildman and The Savage Go Turkey Hunting

The Rabid, Wild & Savage Outdoorsmen!
As could be expected, I was very excited to finally get a chance to take the youngsters out for their very first turkey hunt. Though I expected a considerable amount of wiggling, talking and general mayhem from both the Wildman and the Savage, I still had high hopes we just might be able to get a gobbler to respond to our calling. I entered this experience knowing full well that any chance a turkey would actually approach to within visual range of my “exceedingly active” 4 and 6 year olds would be as they say, someplace squarely between slim and none.

Oh, I suppose someplace out there in the vast wilderness, there might exist a mentally challenged turkey with suicidal tendencies but I am under the impression a very happy coyote already likely ate him. No worries, as I knew both boys would be happy if they could just get out in the wilds with their Dad.

Being a Sunday, I was not legally able to carry a gun but that isn’t something I would introduce to a 4 and 6 year old anyway. Introduction to the finer points of marksmanship can come in a few years, when their bodies and minds are more focused. It is better at this age, to teach them how to identify the difference between hens, jakes and toms and how to pursue/lure turkeys, using calls, tracking and hide using effective camouflage.

Our plan was simple, we were to cut and run while walking out to our turkey blind, set-up our turkey decoy with a pull string and then spend 15-20 minutes playing with the decoy and practicing calling with our slate and box calls. Also, we would practice sitting still and whispering . . . likely more challenging for kids this age than anything else!

The Adventure Begins: 
After managing to rouse the sleepy heads out of bed, I proceeded to top off their empty bellies with Cheerios, Ring Dings and jellybeans. After all, if they are going to be hunters, they need to start eating like hunters! With considerable effort, the three of us finally managed to roll out the door around 9:00 AM, with us all sporting our most fashionable camouflage clothing.

Thankfully, a short walk leads to prime turkey territory so by 8:05 AM we were “hunting”. As we proceeded to walk to the turkey blind, the Wildman tore up the slate call with a series of deafening clucks and yelps, while the Savage happily abused my expensive handmade box call. I was excited to see that both devices reek of durability, still managing to function even after being repeatedly submersed in mud puddles. To see how our adventure went, please see the video below:

video

After our introduction to life in a turkey blind and the close gobbler encounter, the kiddos were still pretty excited to do some more “hunting”. On their direction, we need to track and follow the turkey to see exactly where he went. After not being able to find the turkey or much sign, we walked down to the beaver flowage (cutting and running the whole way) to check on the wood duck nesting box the three of us installed last winter. After watching and waiting for a very long and painful 5 minutes, we concluded that it was indeed empty of occupants and we began to s-l-o-w-l-y walk back home.

On the way, we pulled the memory card out of the game camera and replaced it with a new one. I explained to the kids that game cameras “trigger’ by motion and take pictures when something walks or moves in front of it. Curious and wanting to ham it up of the camera, I soon had 5 images and 150 seconds of video of something they are calling the “wiggle, wiggle your butts dance”. I would share the video but their dancing was infectious and I cannot allow the public to view my ghastly display of gyrating and shaking.

After the dancing, we proceeded toward home and noted several spots where turkey had come through and scraped up the leaves looking for bugs and grubs to eat. We also found several turkey tracks in the mud and measured them with our hands and tried to determine if it was a big “Tom” turkey or a little “Hen” turkey.

Arriving home, I noted smiling happy faces on two kiddos that appeared to have had a fun and enjoyable morning “hunting” turkeys with their Dad. In the end, what more really is there to hunting then spending time in the wilds with your loved ones and friends, sharing good times, stories and fun. Sure there is always the excitement of pulling the trigger, and I would be lying if I said I am not VERY excited to see the day when both of my boys harvest their first turkey. For the time being, however, I am content to wait and enjoy our “hunting” time together for what it is . . . pure love.
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*If your planning to take your kids our “hunting” for turkeys be sure to read: “My First Turkey Hunt” by Michael and Curtis Waguespack, it’s a great way to introduce your child to turkeys before they even set foot in the wilds!
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More on Animal Scat and Tracks Here:

8 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks buddy! I read a cool article the other day that mentioned woodsman skills and traditional outdoor pursuits are BEST learned when they occur slowly over a life time, rather then forced into compressed timetable like we attempt to do as we get older. At this rate, I am guessing when these boys reach teen age they will be wicked smart on that hunting and fishing stuff . . . likely even teach the old man a thing or two!

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  2. that is precious - love the turkey riding!

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    1. YEEEEEEEEHAWWWWWWWW! Freaking little guys are adorable. :)

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  3. Sounds like a great day of 'hunting' and just plain fun! I'll bet they were pretty excited to have called in a bird! :)

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    1. I honestly don't know who was more excited me or the kiddos. I had hoped that we could POSSIBLY have a small chance of hitting some distant Tom but to have one within 50 yards gobbling his head off was VERY exciting!

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  4. Nice post my man, I think the force is strong in those two...

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    1. I am still thinking arranged marriage between your and mine if your game. WIth us as in-laws, I would automatically become partial owner of crumble island. :)

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