By Emilie Cram
I decided I wanted to start hunting just over 10 years ago. Spring Turkey season was right around the corner, and I knew nothing about turkey hunting. Thankfully, I was able to get an apprentice license and hunt with a mentor. We discussed the gear I needed to start looking at, where we might go, what the act of hunting a turkey looks like, and before I knew it, we were making owl hoots and roosting birds the night before opening day.
I lucked out with a hodgepodge camo outfit from the local bargain cave, I was gifted a New England firearms 12-gauge, and my mentor recommended a push-pin squeaker box call to start. I was up before the sun, layered up with camo, and we set out for the turkey woods. Tucked in between the hardwoods I had a nice shooting lane, but really was not sure what to expect.
Hunting wasn’t something I was used to and being with a buddy or a mentor seemed like it had to be a must for me, especially as a woman getting into hunting in her mid-20’s. I had and still have, so many questions. What if they act this way, or turn that way, or what boots and gloves do I wear to stay warm, is it bad that I fall asleep sometimes, or sometimes I get up count 100 jumping jacks when I get cold.
That first turkey hunt was almost a bust. Hours went by without a peep or sign of a turkey. Out of nowhere a solo gobbler came in from across the property behind us. He came right into that decoy and I was able to take my shot. But this story isn’t about if I did or didn’t shoot that Tom. It is about getting introduced to the outdoors, to providing food for my family and friends. Learning a new skill as an adult woman. Learning to handle tools, such as knives and firearms, that most shy away from. Building new friendships, resources, and mentors in a whole new industry I never knew anything about. This was an activity I never knew I needed or wanted to be a part of.
Turkey season quickly became my favorite time of year. I went out with my mentor a handful more times, and then I set out on my own. Faced the early morning darkness, experimented with types of calls, got busted by those pesky hens, and missed shots at several turkeys. Those early morning gobbles when you are sitting there and not a sound around you. They sound off, surprise you every time, but also put a huge smile on your face behind that facemask, and sometimes you may even let out a giggle, I know I do! When those daybreak gobbles start sounding off, you know you are about to be a part of the world of wildlife waking up.
I have developed a great respect for these prehistoric looking birds. They are awkward, frustrating, not particularly attractive, but also fascinating to watch and interact with. Over the years now I have been drawn to the act of turkey hunting for the ability to interact with them. Have a conversation, even when I have no clue what I am saying to them, its still an incredibly unique and special experience. I am hooked. I encourage everyone to try it, cook up the breast meat with your favorite poultry recipe, display their feathers, and reminisce on the hunt while counting down to next year!
Until next season…. Gobble gobble!