By Kami Elsisie

New Mexico

It was the last weekend of Turkey season here in New Mexico and in hunting fashion we got up at 4am and headed out in hopes of hearing early morning clucks and gobbles. As we walked on to the property, we threw out some slate calls and to our surprise there was an eruption of early morning gobbles in all directions. Excitement was hard to contain, but we needed to make a snap decision on which direction to head. As we hastily walked along the fence line, we heard a gobble not more than 100 yards to the West of us, with shotguns and decoys in hand we started our stalk.

As we edged near the Cottonwood trees to get into position, three thunderous gobbles echoed out at the same time. I dropped to the ground and started to hen call to keep these boys interested. The other two hunters, one of which was a first time Turkey hunter, low crawled 50 yards to the top of a nearby berm, making sure to dodge the family of skunks nearby. As they made their way into position, I kept an eye out for rogue turkeys and skunks! At this point, we were 20 minutes into shooting hour, and I knew we might be out here all day chasing these Thunder Chickens all over the Pecos River.

Well, I can say, 33 minutes into our hunt, our first time Turkey hunter bagged a Rio Grande Tom that would make any seasoned hunter envious. This Tom had a 9-inch beard, 1-inch spurs, a full intact fan and weighted in at almost 40 pounds. I was awe struck, proud and excited to be able to be apart of someones first Turkey hunt. Do you remember your first successful Turkey hunt? I know I sure do. That is why I have fallen in love with taking new hunters out on hunts they may not otherwise have gone on.

Now what if I told you this new hunter was a veteran? What if I told you this new hunter was a man? I love how much the hunting community is changing and that sportswomen are spearheading much of the tide. To be a sportswoman in the hunting community who can take a military veteran out on his first Turkey hunt and be successful, this is what I hope will be the norm and I hope this will inspire some of you to take a new hunter out regardless of age, race or gender. Happy Hunting!!

*Staff Sergeant Cory Blaize (32) was infantry for the US Army for 12 years. He did 3 tours overseas, 1 in Iraq and 2 in Afghanistan and was stationed all over the United States. He currently lives in Albuquerque, NM and works in security.