Becoming a Hunter — Part 2: Gearing Up

My first turkey hunt is so close I can feel it and its time to gear up for the hunt.

I've passed hunter safety, had the religious experience of shooting a shotgun, but having never hunted I still can't call myself a hunter. I'm getting closer though.

I've spent hours researching turkeys and turkey hunting. I've read everything I can find about guns, gear, and scouting. The peace and quiet of being out in the field is as addicting as the power and thunder of a shotgun.

Normally my woodsey excursions are on horseback, and a significant portion of my mind is distracted by making sure my very young, and very green horse doesn't mistake a deer for a mountain lion.

People around me have always talked about being bitten by the hunting bug. I never put much stock in it before, but my experiences over the last few weeks have me understanding this a lot more.

I haven't even gone yet and I've found an appreciation for hunting that has landed me with a very serious newfound respect for hunters, and I feel the need to apologize for not taking it seriously before.

Having the time and space to focus on the woods, hearing turkeys out calling with my own ears makes me feel a little more confident going into hunting season. All I can think about is gobbling turkeys, practicing my calls, and how quiet the woods are.

Using loaner gear would be a great way to keep this hunt low-cost, but the more I thought about it, the more I couldn't stand having anything out in the field that wasn't a piece of me.

Shopping for and handling different guns made me start to feel like the gun should be an extension of myself, something I adapt and mold to. I'm going to be depending on it during the hunt, and that makes it more than an inanimate object, it makes it my partner.

I don't want to think about how the decoys belonged to work, the call was a coworker's, or how the gun I took my first turkey with was my boss'. When I am out in the field, I feel like I turn into one creature, one being that has to be focused and singularly efficient. Without that feeling, I don't think I would be a successful hunter, and I can't feel singular and connected with myself when I am concerned about other people's things.

As a first-timer I am starting at square zero in terms of gear, so I spent some time and came up with a list of basic safety supplies for going out in the field.

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By: Margaret Persico

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