Monday, April 12, 2010

Turkey Hunting Essentials...

My oldest son recently turned nine, and is now getting to the age where I am beginning to take him along on real hunting trips, as opposed to the "hunting trips" we've taken in the past.

Such was the case this weekend, when I asked if he'd like to go turkey hunting down at the farm, actually an old homestead that has been in my wife's family for over a century now, and will, I suppose, eventually be passed on to our sons.

I was hesitant to ask him, however, because while it's a good place to take a kid deer and duck hunting, it's not so good for turkey hunting with a child tagging along. Virtually all of the area's turkeys roost along a creekbottom a half-mile away and feed along the creek as well, so locating and setting up on a bird coming off a roost is out, and finding scattered and close-mouthed mid-day toms involves a lot of walking, spotting and stalking. Combine that with the fact that it's early season and many toms are still shadowing unbred hens and therefore require a higher level of calling skill than I possess, and it was looking like a low-percentages day.

Of course, it mattered not. When I asked if he wanted to go, he immediately jumped up, ran to his bedroom and began preparing for the following day's hunt. In hindsight, I probably should have supervised that...

The next morning I got up, drank my coffee, got my gear together and in the truck, then went to wake my son. I drank another cup of coffee as I waited.

What emerged from my son's bedroom was not my son, but a camo-clad, clinking, clanking child-sized blob of "survival gear" wearing a headlamp and a backpack he himself could have fit in. Around this creature's waist was a belt containing his "survival knife", his "hunting knife", his Leatherman, a canteen and an official Field & Stream survival kit (including pocket knife, sewing kit, compass, signal mirror, whistle and flashlight). I have no idea where he got the survival kit. I think my father-in-law got it as a gift for subscribing to the magazine.

He had an old pair of binoculars slung around his neck. An additional pair of "Eye Clops" children's night-vision binoculars was stowed in his backpack, along with an additional flashlight, granola bars, string cheese, a water bottle, a roll of kitestring, various items of clothing and - inexplicably - one of my old Jimmy Buffet cassettes.

I briefly considered making him leave it all there, but I saw the excitement in his eyes and kept my mouth shut. He's only nine. There'll be time enough for all that later.

 No turkeys died that day, but we had a lot of fun. God I miss the sheer joy and excitement and magic dust of being a kid...


  1. Why do all kids adventures have to include a cheese string?

  2. The only thing missing from this post is a photo of the creature that came out of your son's bedroom. You might consider posting one with a pay-per-view link.

  3. LOVE the Jimmy Buffett cassette! Perhaps if you'd played it, you'd've gotten a turkey.

  4. That's a hilarious image, but true enough.

    Good on ya for not squashing his enthusiasm right off. In time, his imagination will ease off toward the practical... or you'll have another Doug Peacock on your hands. Either way, you'll have done OK.

  5. Tears to my eyes, man, both from the image and from understanding.

    That's so great.

    I love it that kids just know they need as many knives as possible... It's a grown-up tool, you know. It takes responsibility, and has gravitas.

    Aw, geez, I'm crying again.

  6. Thanks for the comments, guys. Taking a kid along on real hunting trips like this is a whole new and interesting world for me, one in which i'm learning as much as he is...