This is just a typical day in the woods for twin sisters Tracy and Lanny Barnes, as they launch their new blog here at Women’s Outdoor News. In this snippet of life outside the Olympic arena, Tracy Barnes tells us about the day she took off her shoes and ran after a tom in the woods, while her sister, Lanny, well … you’ll just have to read about it here.
I started the day with shoes on, but they didn’t stay on for long …
4:02 A.M.: Lanny and I roll up to the forest service gate, 45 minutes from our house. The gate is closed for another month to allow for snow to melt off the roads. We had no intention, however, of driving the road. Instead we pull our bikes out of the back of the truck, strap our Benelli shotguns on our backs and start peddling up the road. It’s quiet and dark. Our headlamps illuminate a small path of road in front of us. Lanny and I don’t say anything to each other. It’s too early to talk and the anticipation of hearing a gobble has left us straining with our ears, even though the turkeys are still quietly sitting on their limbs.
5:29 A.M.: Our bikes come to a stop on a corner in the road. We are breathing hard and the sun is now rewarding us with a little pre-dawn light. We turn off our headlamps and stash our bikes in the bushes. Lanny has already gotten her turkey, so she’ll be calling for me today. We wait in the half dark for the light to come, shivering from the cold and excited to start the day.
6:03 A.M.: It’s fully light now and the turkey’s are talking! We move in on foot to get closer to their location. It’s slow moving because it’s dry and loud. We get within a hundred yards and I sneak up 10 more yards while lanny drops back to start calling. She puts in her mouth call and cuts loose. Noise erupts from the turkeys bellow us in response to Lanny’s calls.
6:12 A.M.: Naturally a curious hen is the first to arrive on the scene. The tom is gobbling like crazy and following 50 yards behind. I freeze behind my log almost invisible in my Prois camo. The hen comes within 5 yards of me. She talks and then putts, talks and then putts. I’m rolling my eyes at her. “Darn it sister.” I say to her in my head. “You’re ruining it!” The tom continues to gobble, but not as much. The hen putting us has slowed him down a bit.
6:34 A.M.: The hen circles Lanny. The hen comes back and circles me. Then she circles Lanny again. She must be lonely. If this was fall season, she could become friends with my death stick (aka my Benelli Super Black Eagle). But I ignore her. Meanwhile Lanny moves back a little to draw the hen away from me and draw the tom closer.
6:41 A.M.: I see red! The tom’s coming. But he’s hesitant. The hen is still up circling Lanny, talking and putting. He’s closer now, but just out of range. After a while he get’s hung up and doesn’t come any farther. He puffs up, gobbles, but doesn’t move forward. Teasing me with his taunting call.
6:59 A.M.: Time for action. I’ve been in many a situation where the tom hangs up and doesn’t come in. Lanny’s still calling and saying all sorts of sweet things, but the hen putting isn’t helping our situation. So, when the tom turned and headed back towards where he had come I knew it was time for action. I snuck back about 50 yards, snickering at Lanny doing a dance with the hen. Then I took my shoes off and started to run. I often take my shoes off to stalk animals, it’s quieter and quicker to move amongst the dead leaves and dry pine needles. My goal is to cut the tom off as he heads back towards the far end of a meadow.
7:03 A.M.: I gave myself plenty of distance between the tom and me. My socked feet are quietly running through the woods. I do a large circle and then stop and listen. Nothing but the rapid beating of my heart. I slowly sneak up to where the bird should be. Nothing. I know he’s here so I patiently wait. Then I see his head disappear over a hill. I sneak quietly up to the hill. My gun up, my finger ready to pull the trigger. Bead lines up with red. Finger twitches. Bbs fly. Bird goes down. I’m so excited I run up to the bird to check him out and stub my toe on a log. Oh yeah … shoes. Hope I remembered where I stashed them. Meanwhile Lanny is still dancing with the hen.
7:15: I strap the bird on the handlebars of my bike for the ride out. My shoes are back on and dinner’s gonna be in the freezer. Another successful hunt and as usual an unconventional way of doing it.
Runnin’ and Gunnin’ with the Twins is sponsored by Advanced Technology International, manufacturer of gunstocks, shotgun accessories and bipods.
Women’s Outdoor News welcomes Tracy and Lanny Barnes to the ranks of WON Guns. Please let us know if you have a question about training, shooting or life for them! And drop in at their outstanding website, visit, donate, shop … see TwinBiathletes.com.