Stephanie Mallory is a mom, a hunter and Realtree’s PR Coordinator. She’s here to deliver an insider’s look at the outdoor business and give her opinion on all things outdoors—whether you asked for it or not.
My Less-Than-Perfect Family Turkey Hunt
“I wanna go huntin’ and kill me a chicken, too,” said Scarlet, one of my 2-year-old twin daughters, as the boys and I prepared for our turkey hunt the following day. “Maybe when you get a little bigger, doll,” I replied. “And, we’re not hunting chickens, we’re hunting turkeys.” She didn’t care what we were going after. She felt the excitement in the air and wanted to be a part of it.
We were definitely all pumped up. My boys, Ethan, 8, and Ransom, 4, and my father, James Davis, and I had been planning this hunt for months. So we spent this past Friday night buzzing around my father’s cabin in preparation for our Saturday morning hunt on my uncle’s property in north Alabama.
When 4 a.m. rolled around on Saturday, I had surprisingly little trouble getting the boys up and ready. We dressed, ate breakfast, climbed in my minivan (don’t judge me, I’m a mother of four) and headed out into the darkness. Before arriving at our hunting local, we swung by and picked up family friend David Curtis, one of the best turkey callers around.
We hiked 1/4 mile or so down an old dirt road. I knew the chances of my boys, especially Ransom, remaining still and quiet were slim. So, I brought along my new Ameristep Carnivore blind. I’m not one to rave about a product, but that blind is the most convenient, well-made blind I’ve ever used. We set up the blind against the wood line with a view down the dirt road and a large field to our left.
David and Dad walked down the road to set up and listen for birds.
The minute the boys and I stepped into the blind, the chaos began.
“I want a snack!” Ransom belted out.
“Ransom, it’s 5:30 in the morning,” I whispered. “You just ate. The turkeys are about to start gobbling. Please be quiet and listen.”
To this, Ransom replied in a very loud voice, “But momma, I’m really hungry.”
Even though I’d been talking to them for days about the importance of remaining quiet, Ransom just couldn’t seem to bring his voice down below a moderate yell.
I fished around in the backpack for a snack hoping it would quiet him down. I handed him a banana. “Mom, I don’t like that.” I handed him an Oatmeal Cream Pie. “Mom, I don’t like that either.” I offered him two or three more snack options before he finally consented.
Ethan, getting angry over Ransom’s noise making, blurted out in a much too loud whisper, “Ransom, hush! You’re going to scare all the turkeys away!”
To Ethan, I replied. “Son, you’re being as loud as Ransom. Can’t you both just please be quiet.”
We argued about each other’s noise making until well after sunrise. Needless to say, we didn’t hear a single bird. In fact, I’m sure we scared every bird right out of the county.
When Dad and David walked up, they could hear our fussing, and sensing my frustration, they suggested that we get out of the blind and do a little scouting, which is exactly what we did. We heard a gobble way off in the distance, but that was the extent of our turkey encounter for the day. Before hiking out, David gave each boy a turkey-calling lesson on his box call, which they both enjoyed very much. On his first try, Ransom worked the box call as if he’d been doing it all of his life. We hiked back to my uncle’s house where Dad, David and I rested on my uncle’s porch while my boys harassed his donkey and goat. Despite getting a little frustrated at the noise they made during the hunt, I had a good time with them, and I believe they enjoyed themselves as well.
The next day, David had the good fortune of killing a turkey, which he brought back by the cabin to show the kids. Scarlet was especially thrilled to see it. For the next several days she told everyone she saw, “Mr. David killed me a chicken.” I explained to her again that it was a turkey. She then changed her statement to, “Mr. David went turkey hunting and killed me a chicken.” I guess there’s only so much reasoning you can do with a 2-year-old.
So, there you have it. Not the picture-perfect hunt I’d hoped for, but a good day spent outdoors with family nonetheless. I’ll take an unproductive hunt with my kids over a day indoors anytime.
Have you ever sat through a hunt with a kid that just would not be quiet? What did you do?