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Mia and the Little Gal: That’s why they call it (turkey) hunting

This is me and my Little Gal. She’s nearly as tall as me, but she’ll always be my Little Gal none the less. She is our only child, and Hank and I do our best to raise her with the best of everything. We want her to have the best morals, the best values and the utmost in respect. Respect for all things but mostly a mighty fine respect for the outdoors.

I remember a time when she was a tiny little thing that was afraid of a bug crossing the sidewalk. Times have changed and her love for Mother Nature and all it has to offer has grown immensely. When we are not at work or school we spend nearly all of our days outside. We hunt, we shoot, we fish and we scout and if we can’t do any of those, we look for any other adventure to get us closer to Mother Nature.

Every spring we spend family time trying to figure those turkeys out. Now mind you, the Little Gal has harvested turkeys in the past, but last year we were out smarted by a granddaddy long beard. He evaded us all season and when the Little Gal finally had her shot at him, she missed. Yep … no happy ending last year. Lesson learned: It’s called “hunting,” not killing.

This spring we took the Little Gal on a quest for yet another Merriam’s turkey. One evening hunt was very exciting. We were surrounded by three young toms. We had set ourselves up with her in the front and me behind because I always like to let her get a chance at a bird first. We sat there as the three toms walked past our decoys. I trembled with excitement as they walked less than 20 yards in front of us. I just knew she was going to get her bird! They moved across and back and then across again. We excitedly waited for her to shoot one. Nothing. They went right by.

Granddaddy and his harem. Photo by Mia Anstine.

Hank and I called to them and sure enough those toms turned and came back. Again, there was nothing from the Little Gal. I wondered why she hadn’t shot one. They were heading away again. I anxiously scooted out from my cover with my TenPoint crossbow and decided to try to get a shot on one. They were just getting ready to head over the hill as I stood up to get a view over the brush I was seated behind. I aimed and launched an arrow just as they ducked over the edge. Clearly missed. Dang it!

Once the birds had gone and the excitement subsided we packed up our decoys. We headed to the truck. The Little Gal didn’t have much to say. We were leaving once again with no bird for her. When we were back at the truck, she said, “I saw him. He was just over the hill but didn’t come in. I want him.” WOW! The Little Gal had passed on three good birds because she had seen that mature tom that eluded her the year before. She had learned selection and self-control. We are proud that she has learned enough to not just shoot anything that walks in front of her, and that she has enough self-control to wait, even if it means no bird for her.

We laughed and told stories the whole way home. We chatted about how awesome it was to be so close to so many birds. We discussed how fortunate we are to get to enjoy such great things in the outdoors. A strutting turkey is a great thing to see up close, and to see multiple birds multiple times is even more exciting. Getting my Little Gal outside has taught her about not only bugs and animals but also our connection to nature, one another and our responsibility to be good stewards. She is well on her way to being a great mentor for future generations.

Read more about Mia’s adventures at her blog, My Many Outdoor Adventures.

 

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