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Eva McKay's First Bird

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I will start by saying it wasn't my tag, so team it hasn't come together yet.

For 3 years I have taken my niece Eva out hunting for a day trip somewhere.  I just wanted to get her into the outdoors as neither of her parents hunt.  I got her interested at age 5 with videos and a couple birds I had shot.  That spring I took her out in two feet of snow and 100 pounds of gear, only to sit on a trail 150 yards off the road.  It was all I could make it, and proved no sightings.  although it lit a spark in her that would continue to grow over the next couple years.

The next Spring we went out with my oldest son, Danny in hopes of at least seeing a bird from the blind (baby steps) and see what happens.  Well, we saw a couple birds at about 40 yards, and we all got nervous and excited as the hens made their way off.  We had seen turkeys and were on the right path.  Here is the 2 goof balls in the blind.2015-04-18 15.15.41.jpg2015-04-18 15.49.31.jpg2015-04-18 17.38.04.jpg

As you can see, my son got a little carried away with the face paint, but they had fun, and we had succeeded in my mind and theirs.  we did see a gobbler in the roost in the clear cut we were by walking out, and that topped the cake.

Bring us to this spring.  Eva has been asking me since January when turkey hunting was.  I was looking forward to it this year, as I knew it just had to come together.  Instead of an afternoon hunt, I was going to take her on a weekend long hunting excursion, with multiple opportunities to get out, along with the morning routine, which was a new thing for her, and my boy Danny.  The kids could hardly wait for last weekend.  They got out of school for Friday and we were off for a fun adventure!  Eva had a tag, and Danny had candy and video games (hopefully enough to entertain him.)  We got up North at about 1 on Friday and went to the farm we had permission to hunt.  We scouted a little bit where the farmer had said he has seen birds, and we saw this...20160430_080136.jpg


We also saw a bunch of tracks up and down the road.  I knew we were in the middle of something good here, and I was pumped!  We left the area, and went back to the camp for a little fun in the woods.  We tried turkey hunting that afternoon, but a half hour proved too long, and we went in, with great anticipation for the morning to come.

My clock went off at 4 am.  I tried to let the critters sleep until 420, but got them up at 415, and I am glad I did.  We got out the door at 445, and were running late for the spot.  we got there at 5 am as the sun was making the world brighter, and far more than I had hoped.  On the walk into the spot, which was maybe 200 yards, gobbles rang out 200 yards to the Northeast.  They were a ways off, but the kids hear them and got excited.  For a first morning hunt for either of them, it really was gorgeous!  We quickly got to the spot I had cleared the night before and just as I got all the stuff set down, a gobble rang out 75 yards right to our South.  I quick grabbed the decoys and put them out at 15 yards, and then threw up the blind and put everything, including 3 people inside.  it took a little bit to get everything set up, but we managed to squeeze into the blind, as we listened to gobbles ring out from the NE and the S of us.

After a little bit, I did some soft calls and then a terrible attempt at a fly down call.  The bird right to our S liked it apparently and gobbled back right away followed by another shortly after I was done.  I thought it was going to be happening right then, but he decided it wasn't where he wanted to be and he kind of shut off after a couple more gobbles.  I called very little after that and just took in the nature around us.  Gobbling turkeys, drumming grouse, sandhill cranes, ducks, geese, and many other nature tunes!  It really was magic in the woods.  There were 4 or 5 birds to the NE that were gobbling, but one in particular was gobbling at EVERYTHING.  It was excellent to listen to, and just made for a fun time.  As he gobbled his head off, he kept inching his way closer, and closer.  He came to where a gravel pit and road meet, just 75 yards to our NE, out of sight of the windows we had open in the blind, but well within earshot.  You could feel his gobbles as he let loose into the morning air.  I moved to my niece's seat and got the gun sticks up and readied the gun.  I had her in my lap, and it was game on.  My son had a clear view from my seat and the waiting game was on.  I knew he was coming, just a matter of when he wanted to.  He was hung up there, just gobbling and giving us a auditory showing, when all of a sudden my niece says "There's a turkey!"  I was looking out the window where the gobbler would be coming into, and there was nothing there.  She said, " No, right there," and out or W facing window is a bird at 10 steps.  It was a hen, but still it was great!  Her and my son got super pumped up as she came into the decoys and bumped a hen, spinning it around.  She then went over to the other hen and just kind of stood next to it, glad for company.  30 seconds later here comes the gobbler in full strut right from where we planned.  He was coming in hard, and I readied the gun, and told my niece to wait.  He came up to the Jake and pumbled it, giving us a great showing!  He hit him hard 3 times, and was getting ready for the 4th round when I told my niece to shoot.  

Now I had never had her shoot a gun before, but she knew the rules , and had shot a BB gun many times.  She knew how to operate a gun.  In the moment of me telling her to shoot, she kind of forgot her skills, as would anyone about to shoot for the first time.  I had my eye down the barrel and could under her aiming that she was right on his head.  She hesitated, and I again said " SHOOT!"  She said "I can't, I ..." BOOM!  She had found the trigger and touched off!  The bird crumpled and didn't even twitch.  She was a little shocked by the blast, but it turned really quickly to complete excitement as I told her she got it.  My son was at the door, and ready to go out as soon as I lifted the barrel.

We went out and admired the bird!  It was such an amazing moment!  Watching the next generation of outdoors people in this perfect morning.  The sun was just peaking up, and we took some pictures and hugged and high-fived.  Eva had done it!  3 years in the making, but I just knew it was happening this time, I just felt it.  We had fun, and enjoyed the morning.  She had shot the first bird ever for our camp up there, and her first bird in her young life of hunting.  She said she can't wait to try again next year, already!  The bird was beautiful!  About 20 lb. 8.5 inch beard, and 5/8 inch spurs.  A great first bird, and one we all are more than proud of!

And here are the pictures:  


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