Ariel McCracken-My First Turkey, Featured Huntress May 2013

I’ve always loved turkey hunting because when you hear the sound of a big ol’ gobbler sounding off to your call, and you know he’s getting closer, it just sends a shock of excitement through your body when you’re sitting in the woods so still, just waiting for him to come on by.  That’s exactly what I experienced this past Saturday, when I went out turkey hunting with my favorite and trusty hunting partner, my fiance Dan.

We woke up at 4:30 am to get ready and pack the truck up to hit the woods just in the perfect time, so that we could be sure to be settled in the woods when they flew off the roost.  We hiked all the way through my fiance’s Uncle’s farm, and up through the woods to settle in our spot. But just as we were about to settle into our spots, we already heard a big Tom gobbling away in the field! We quickly got situated and settled into our positions as we made some calls and the gobbler answered us right back. We couldn’t be more excited thinking “This is it! He’s gonna be coming!” We waited..and waited…and waited some more, until we heard a hen coming. Right away, she knew something wasn’t right with the area, but we sat real still until she tucked back over the hill. Discouraged, we thought for sure this was it and assumed the gobbler ran off too. But we kept on waiting, not to give up hope.

My fiancé had his Mathew’s bow with him, and I had my Winchester Model 1300 12 gauge. The game plan was that he would have first shot and I would shoot my shotgun if he couldn’t get a clear shot off. We were about to give up but my fiance’, Dan, decided we should make one more call..just to see. No sooner did we call, the gobbler answered right back! He was hot on our tails! Dan whispered to me to “get ready!” as he turned the camera on and pulled his bow back to full draw. Sure enough, the gobbler was cresting the top of the hill within seconds as we were waiting to take our shots. The gobbler started to walk down towards me and Dan no longer had a clear shot because there was a bush blocking the Tom. Dan could no longer see the turkey at all and the Tom started to head in front of me and started to walk away! Dan whispered, “If he’s going away, take the shot!” And sure enough, bang! I took the 20 yard shot and watched my perfect shot knock him over. I quickly stood up and took one more shot and bang! I knew I had him for good that time!

Dan quickly stood up as we both turned to each other and started cheering! He was so happy and excited for me because he didn’t even know I hit him until he stood up because he lost sight of the gobbler when he headed down towards me! He congratulated me saying “great job sweetheart” as we waited for the gobbler to finish.

When we walked over, I couldn’t believe my eyes! Laying right there before me was a beautiful Tom with an 8 1/2 inch beard and 1 inch spurs, that I had just shot. My first gobbler, ever!! Boy, were we thrilled! What such excitement all by 6:30 am!

It was an incredible morning and even though you couldn’t actually see me shooting my gobbler in the video we took, it was still amazing to hear it all played back and relive the special moment one more time! I did apologize to my fiance’ for “taking his bird” but, he was more than thrilled to have seen me take the shot instead since I had the clear shot! I guess you could say that we make a great hunting team :) There is no greater feeling than hunting with the love of your life, shooting your first Gobbler, and sharing the hunting experience at the same time with him right by your side to share the special moment together! This will forever be one of my most memorable and exciting hunts!

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