As an adult-onset hunter who has only been hunting for a few years, I was afraid I did not have enough knowledge yet to pass along to a new hunter as a mentor. Then one of my adult daughters asked me to take her hunting. Felicia said she really wanted to experience turkey hunting because she could see how much I enjoy heading out before daybreak and being a small part of the world waking up each day.
Like me, she grew up on our family farm but never hunted. A nurse by trade, she works long shifts and deals with life and death every day, and it really surprised me that she wanted to try turkey hunting. I knew what little knowledge I had, I wanted to pass along to her. In her own words, this is her story.
A daughter’s hunting story
As a little girl growing up, I was really never interested in hunting. We lived on a farm in the middle of nowhere, but no one in my immediate family went hunting. I remember my grandfather going hunting a few times, but he was up in age and didn’t go often. I had two older boy cousins who always hunted but, as they reminded me, “hunting is for boys.”
Once my mom started working at the NWTF, I saw the interest in hunting and the outdoors grow in her. Seeing the passion she had for learning to hunt made me want to try it as well. So, I begged mom to teach me and take me hunting.
Prior to the hunt, I thought I had an idea of how the morning would go. We would get up super early and I would complain about being up before the sun on my day off. Then the excitement would kick in. We would walk into the woods and she would tell me what I should be doing. We would wait and wait and finally harvest one of the huge turkeys that we’ve seen down the country road beside our house.
As anyone who has ever been hunting can tell you, it never goes as planned. We did get up early, and, much to my surprise, I wasn’t quite as grouchy as the excitement kicked in quickly. But on this day, there would not be any harvest; there would be lessons learned, though.
My mom, who I thought would be more like a guide in this instance, was actually my mom first. She told me what to do and showed me the best place to set up. Then “mom mode” kicked in, and she made sure I was comfortable and knew the game plan. We waited for day to break.
I am very impatient; I think the sitting and waiting is one of the main reasons why I never wanted to hunt. However, sitting in the dark with my mom brought on a sense of nostalgia somehow — having mom teaching me something new — and the time passed quickly.
It was a cold morning, but as the sun rose over the field, I felt closer to the land that is my home and, most importantly, to my mom.
When we decided to change locations, she led the way but looked back to make sure I wasn’t stuck in a briar patch or lost. Then, when I did get stuck in a briar patch, she came back to help me.
My mom is one of the strongest and most independent women I know, even harvesting her first deer on a solo hunt. And I know beyond any shadow of a doubt that she knew I would never be able to sit still enough for us to call in and harvest a bird, but she took me anyway.
Hunting is a bond that I’m sure most people usually share with their dads, brothers, male cousins and friends, but there is something uniquely different about sharing it with your mom. For those of you thinking about hunting with your mom, go. Go as often as you can, for as long as you can. It’s the time we spend together that makes a hunt special