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In My Daughters Eyes- Turkey Hunting

Hunting, Personal Growth

It’s hard to think of how to best tell about the first day my daughter went on her first turkey hunt. Thinking how to best do it justice. I know as her mother, her best friend, her biggest fan, it was a day my heart found another level of happiness in. This story is not one to be heavy technical hunting details but more so in the moments, the expressions,the feeling. In more ways than one, this day once again showed me the joys of being a hunter and a hunting family. Hope you enjoy.

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We started the morning early, waking my daughter around 4:30. She is the family sleepy head to say the least. I had to shake her more than once to get her moving. Nothing new! Naomi was asleep 5 minutes away from home actually with a good 40 minutes to drive. We finally made it to the first property we lease and planned to try another piece if the land as we had not located on another before. She was so precious when she got out as she knew to be quiet, to stay close and wait for me to instruct her. The way she’s standing here is not one usual to her. Somehow I realized she had taken on my “hunting stance”. Best I can describe it. Whenever we have been out to scout or at camp planning etc, I tend to stand this way like it helps my mind think better. So to see her like this when I turned around made me giggle a little. when she gets to put on camo and such, she really takes on a different personality, just like her momma, you get in the “zone”.

first turkey hunt
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With our vest on and our shotguns loaded, we took off to the woods. She has learned to be so quiet through our scouting, that I had to realize a couple of times she was not as close to me as I liked. She was like a little forest fairy in stealth mode. I took a moment to explain that especially during turkey season, she must stay closer as she was small and no orange required, she could be mistaken for turkey. Yes this was a private lease but yo never know when someone may have snuck in on you. I am always stress the dangers, without scaring my children. Never be too comfortable that you become unsafe. She hurried along and kept tight to me. By her lack of care to be directly under me though, showed me she was comfortable and unconcerned being in the woods while it was not yet daylight completely. This was a good sign for me to see. Being aware and being scared are two different things. I for one was at one time afraid to walk the woods in the dark, something I have overcome now, but had to conquer. Naomi had no care , no fear in ways. The walk continued as we do hunt far back from our area we park, it’s not public land long, but it’s not around the corner.

After finding a spot we decided to back up into and try calling from, I begand explaining to Naomi, why I chose this spot, what the layout infront of us was useful for and above all how to be in a spot that your back was covered in any case of predators or tresspassers. Being able to have the high ground and hidden above all. We put up our quick blind and settled in.

first turkey hunt
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From this point sadly we did not hear any turkeys, not surprised but none the less we sat and had small talk and giggled some. We packed up and decided to try and call some more down the woods and also use the opportunity to scout out and get an eye on more of the lease as it was new.

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Like any child, Naomi LOVES to wear facepaint. It’s her favorite thing to get to do when she’s “hunting”.  Previoulsy her idea of hunting was in reality, scouting and checking cams.

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We had a moment of maybe but never confirmed we heard turkeys in the distance. If it was, they would have been off the property anyways. So none the less we used the time to show more to Naomi about what the woods had to say if she stopped and listened and looked! I remind my children to not disturb the woods, doing so may cover signs we may be looking for. It’s turkey season, but I’m always scouting deer 🙂 We found some old rubs, new and old tracks, beds and such to explain with a visual what they were. She may not remember everything but she sure listened with intent to each word spoken. Silent and eyes open.

While waiting to change our position, I let Naomi see a pretty view on the lease and put down some mineral for the deer.

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She loved the way the mineral smelled and was in awe of the gift we had right on the property overlooking a river. Taught her about minerals and what they do, also how to tell where property ended and to stay on our sides.

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first turkey hunt
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We finally decided to move on to another land option a very good friend of ours had granted us access to. Although I have permission, I always ask every single time I go and let him know we’d be there. Yes it may be over kill, but I respect old ways and people. Finally he replied to my text and actually assumed we were already on his property , asking had I got a bird yet and such. So a short drive and we were back to the woods. Naomi never once complaining about the time or walking!

As usual, I chose that hard way and set my eyes to the backside of the property when we got there. Naomi and her little legs were right behind me, I was rushing a little. I knew the time of day was prime and we needed to get set up quick if we had hope for the day.

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She will learn to carry he own in the woods.. Only way to be in this family. She did so without complaint. Still just happy to be with me and on the hunt for some turkeys.

My hunch was correct!!! I thought in my mind how this land was and picked the far back corners based on what I did know so far and how turkey roam. All of this I explained to Naomi as we set foot on a considerably long walk and hurried up to get there. The wind was harsh and the rain was coming. I knew the rain was coming the night before and knew what wind and rain did to turkey. It’s almost comical to think what I explained to Naomi that day I did so while I was also learning. Thanks to some great friends of mine I’ve learned a good bit about what little I do know so far. I knew enough to know where to go for the weather conditions at least. We finally landed and we set up.  Sure enough our calls were answered, and let me tell you….Naomi lit up like a christmas tree when she realized those were the sounds of wild  turkey. She did know at least from time at home that hearing a turkey was a big deal, and meant hope!

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I thought it over and decided to make a move, one I had to learn from of course. I will speak more on in a future post. I left the coverage of our blind, moved up to a second field to see what I could hear or see. Naomi learned that day along with me how quickly wild turkeys can go from a ways out…to right on top of you. Rookie mistakes lead to us being not having the best shooting spot, I told Naomi to lay down as the grass was high and I was about to call out to see how far the turkey were from here. Long story short, my sweet girl was so wore out that in those few moments she had to lay back , she closed her eyes and fell asleep, as I then realized the turkey had moved extremely fast and now were in the woods line just behind us.

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I had to make a decision very quickly, and I don’t regret it. Never wanting to scare her memory, I chose to stay put and let her finish napping. Instead of moving a little ways ( In sight of her) and trying for a shot which may have very badly scared her. So she finally woke up and the turkey had moved on. I stopped calling in the mindset to not let them know I was there with no shot for a future return.

Naomi beat herself up when she realized what happened, but we laughed it off as being a day to remember. It was beautiful…To see my daughter so intent on the hunt, push so hard to exhaustion and being some comfortable as to fall asleep in the woods, just beautiful.

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No words can do the day justice, no photo could capture the feeling. What I can say is I have been this girls mom for 7 years now. Our of those 7 years I have never been more proud of her dedication. Out of those 7 years I have never felt so strong and so important to her, than when I looked over and she was watching. My 7-year-old put some hours down that day, she soaked up a lot of information. My daughter felt the emotion behind the hunt and felt the fatigue on her body. That day my daughter showed me she was stronger than I ever expected. That day I finally gave my daughter what I never had. She is already plotting how and when we will go back. It hurt me in a new way to see her disappointed we left empty-handed but in a way I’m glad we did. Nothing in life is free. Showing her how it took work with no return to make it in the woods is something money could never buy. I felt like I failed watching her drop her head, and walk with empty hands….but I was wrong. Showing Naomi how to earn her wild is something I look forward to in the future. My daughter is more than my twin, she is the best parts of me and more, I don’t know what I did to deserve her. She is teaching me to be a mother and a woman as I am raising her to be the future.

 

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