There are a several reasons turkey hunting is my go to for new hunters. First, the spring season happens when not much else is going on. It’s usually too early to get in the fields and start working food plots. Second, I have found it to be very easy to get neighbors to give us permission to hunt. My neighbors don’t hunt turkeys and they have been thrilled to have the turkey population thinned out. In addition to that, they have been excited to give a kid a chance at hunting. Next, the weather is usually mild and that means we don’t have to find a bunch of clothes to keep the kids warm. Another great point is the control you have over the hunt. I usually put the new hunter right next to me. By keeping the hunter close, I can quietly talk them through the motions as a turkey is coming in.
My son Luke (14), who has been lucky enough to have taken two turkeys, is always happy to bring a friend up and let them have a chance at the first turkey. On one recent hunt, we brought Luke’s buddy Jack up and his dad. It turned out to be the best first hunt a kid, or anyone, could have asked for. We were sitting at the foot of a big enclosed deer stand on the edge of a nice size cut corn field. Jack’s dad was sitting in the deer stand with his video camera hoping to capture the hunt. As the sun peaked through the trees, we had a Tom answer our hen call. He was far behind us, but we heard him clear as day. After about ten minutes of silence, Jack’s dad whispered down and said there was a turkey at the end of the field. I slowly raised my binoculars up and took a peak. It was a nice tom with a great beard. I squawked out three hen calls from my mouth diaphragm and at the same time pulled on the rope of my fanned out Tom decoy. The decoy spun half way around and instantly the turkey turned and started running to it. I told Jack to get ready and Luke, who was sitting on the other side of Jack, let out a “oh ya, here he comes Jack Man.”
The turkey ran about twenty yards and slammed on the breaks and let out a loud “I’m the boss” gobble. I did another hen call and he put his head down and started running again. As he closed the distance, I whispered to Jack to stay calm and try not to move until I tell him to take him. Jack’s gun was on his knee and ready. I peaked over at Jack and could see his eyes, as big as saucers, through his face mask. I had to smile and enjoy this great moment.
As the big Tom approached, he slammed on the breaks again and let out a vibrating gobble. I told Jack to wait for him. All fanned out and marching sideways, like turkeys do, he came in within ten steps. I let out a hen call and he shoved his head forward and gobbled. “Take him,” didn’t get out of my mouth and Jack drilled him with his twenty gage pump. The bird dropped in his tracks as Luke and I both yelled “YES!” at the same time.
It will take Jack a long time to realize turkey hunting is not always that easy.
If you want to introduce a kid to hunting, try taking them out on a spring turkey hunt. The current Minnesota law says anyone under the age of 13 (no minimum age limit) must have a legal license and be accompanied by an adult. Anyone 13 or over must have a Hunters Safety Certificate acquired by passing a state hunter safety class and possess a valid license.
Here are some great sites to learn more about Minnesota license requirements.
To learn about other states hunting information, visit their DNR or state hunting web site.
Take a new kid out hunting and see their eyes light up!
Lucky Luke’s Hunting Adventures