On April 15th I posted an article in which I asked hunters to submit a photo and some background information of a recent turkey hunt for a small informal contest. Many readers of this blog and the SHS Hunting Chat Forum responded to the contest. After looking over all the pictures and reading the information supplied one stuck in my mind for days. It is the story and picture of 9 year old Shane and his very first turkey hunt. Perhaps one of the reasons why Shane’s first hunting experience embedded itself in my mind is because that was exactly the age my father took me hunting for the first time and I still can remember every detail like it happened yesterday.
Another reason might be that I am particularly thrilled every time I hear of a first time hunter harvesting his or her first game animal, particularly a young hunter. This gives me a sense of satisfaction that our heritage will survive into a good future.
Here now without further ado is the story of Shane’s first turkey hunt:
On Saturday the 14th of April Shane’s long awaited dream to go hunting with his father finally became reality. This was not just a boy accompanying his father on a hunt- Shane would actually do the hunting himself and his father would tag along as his guide and mentor. Dave, Shane’s dad, knew just the right place to take his boy to; a place Dave knew was well populated with birds and a perfect start for a good Iowa turkey hunt and a young hunter.
Once settled under a big tree Dave started calling and it did not take long to get a reaction from several toms. Amongst the gobbling Dave heard what sounded like a big tom further away responding with thunderous gobbles and he was closing in fast. Dave would have liked for Shane to get a chance at harvesting a monster tom- what father wouldn’t want his child to get the best he can? But Shane decided that he would like to shoot the first jake that responded to Dave’s calling and one was just now strutting at about 27 yards away. Shane had the shotgun shouldered and ready to pull the trigger the moment his father gave him the O.K.
This was Shane’s hunt and whatever legal turkey he wanted as his first trophy was all right by his dad. The 20 gauge shotgun roared loud - Shane’s diligent shooting practice had paid off - before him at 27 yards the jake laid sprawled out on the ground. Shane and Dave jumped simultaneously to their feet running to the downed turkey. Emotions came over Dave, as over every father witnessing a proud moment for his child. After the high fives, cheers and hugs Shane, barely able to talk from all the excitement, asked his father if he could borrow his cell phone so he could phone his uncle to tell him all about the hunt and his first turkey he just had shot. For a jake this was a respectable trophy weighing 15 pounds with a 3 ½ inch beard.
With Shane the future of hunting is in good hands. I am as proud of his achievement as his father Dave and his uncle are and wish him all the best for the future and many more exiting and enjoyable days in the field.
Shane’s uncle is a member of the SHS Hunting Chat Forum and the one that sent me the photo and background information. Thanks to his uncle Shane is the winner of this small contest and will receive a “Othmar Vohringer Outdoors” baseball cap. Congratulations Shane. In the future Shane may harvest bigger turkeys and even monster bucks. Perhaps he will become a celebrity hunter. Who can tell what the future holds for this young boy. But one thing is for certain. April 15, 2007 and that jake will be etched in his memory for the rest of his life.
At this point I would like to thank everybody that has sent pictures and background information of their 2007 spring turkey hunts. All the stories were different showing that hunting means different things to different hunters and that their experiences are very personal and unique. One thing we all have in common is our great appreciation of nature and wildlife and we are all proud to be part of an age old heritage that has been passed on to us from one generation to the next. Now it is our turn to pass it on to the next generation. Please take a child, friend or relative hunting so they too can enjoy the great outdoors.
Tags: Turkey Hunting, Photography, Iowa, Youth Turckey Hunt, Hunting Heritage, Contest, Hunting Forum, Blog, Turkey Calling, Baseball Caps, Toms, Gobbler, Trophy