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Day of turkey hunting yields lifetime of memories

By Chuck Moore, Critteden

There is something special about taking your children hunting. So much so that it can bring a tear to a hunter’s eyes. The chance to share the love of the outdoors and to pass tradition creates strong emotional bonds between parents who hunt and their children. It has been said that getting a child active in the outdoors keeps them out of trouble; I could not agree more.

Opening day of the 2011 Kentucky turkey season was not a picture perfect weather day. Waking to a forecast of clear, sunny skies, and 65 degrees would have been ideal. However, we woke to clouds, driving rain, and temperatures in the 50’s that were promised to fall into the 40’s as the day progressed. Still, the anticipation of bagging their first turkey was stronger, in the minds of the three children accompanying us on this hunt, than the gloom of the skies.

My 10-year-old daughter Ashton and I, along with Calvin Shebley and two of his 11-year-old triplets Faith and Anthony, set out to make memories. We did not arrive to our hunting blinds before daybreak, as one typically would. Instead we waited until 7 a.m. to leave home giving the heavy rains a chance to subside. We set our decoys out a full hour and a half after sunrise, which is again not ideal for turkey hunting; that should be done before the horizon begins to glow. We got the kids settled in each of the two side-by-side blinds and waited for nature to decide the fate of the day.

We began calling for turkeys immediately, but unfortunately we received no response.

 “I guess we won’t get one today,” my daughter Ashton looked at me and said.

“You never can tell honey,” I replied. “Sometimes when it seems it’s at its worst is when the magic happens.”

About five minutes after her remark I gave a few loud yelps in the hopes of appealing to a far-off lonely tom.

The first tom closed the distance and found himself 30 yards from the decoy set, which put him about 60 yards from the end of the shotgun barrel.

We still had hope. The bird behind us was still answering our calls and had positioned himself to enter the field on the down hill side of Calvin’s blind. Within five minutes of losing sight of the first bird, we had a visual on the second. He presented himself 20 yards below the blinds. Young Anthony had his gun positioned on a tripod and aimed in the direction of the decoys where the first bird looked like he would go. Fearful he would spook the turkey he was unable to swing his gun for a shot.

Calvin, Anthony, and Faith Shebley were in the middle of their blind huddled in a celebratory hug when Ashton turned to me and said, “Hey dad the other bird.” I looked to see the first tom, the one we all assumed had moved on, charging the dying bird to attack. I called over to the other blind and told them what was going on.

A horribly nasty day with gray skies and buckets of rain had suddenly turned beautiful; two birds! Anthony had killed his first turkey, and Ashton and Faith got to experience the beauty of nature, and the thrill of a successful hunt. Calvin and I got to share our passion for the outdoors with our children. Lasting memories were made.

God allows us opportunities to love and to share love. No love is better than the love shared with your children. No matter what your passion in life, it means so much more when you involve family. Allow the ones you love to know you through your passions, and they will come to know how passionate you are about them. Hopefully the future will hold many opportunities for our children to create memories with their children, and to know the happy tears we as parents cherish. Happy Hunting!

(Editor’s Note: The views expressed are those of the writer and do no necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of the newspaper.)