WON Landing Page OCT 2022

Babbs in the Woods: Shannon’s first turkey hunt

“Well, I just think that if you work for the National Wild Turkey Federation, you should have hunted for a turkey!” said Shannon Coggin, Public Relations Specialist for the Federation, before she embarked on an all-women’s turkey hunt sponsored by Hunter’s Specialties, Benelli U.S.A. and SHE Outdoor Apparel at Rut-N-Strut Outfitters in Oklahoma on Apr. 7-11.

Besides that, she and her fiancé had a little competition going on for who could take the first turkey. He has yet to bring home a tagged bird, too. She won.

Shannon, all 5 feet 2 inches of her, immediately fell in with the crowd of diehard hunters – Lisa Metheny, Cristie Gates and Brenda Potts – along with another turkey hunting newbie, and an editor of NRA publications, Gina Schmidt.

In every camp, like with most groups in the nautral order of things, there is the baby. Shannon was our baby, and when she came in with the first bird, I think we all felt like a proud mama!

She shot her turkey at 35 yards, called in under tough circumstances in a henned-up setting by Rick White, pro-staffer for Hunter’s Specialties.

She laid that tom flat, said Rick, as he regaled us with the story of Shannon’s first shot.

Then, the next morning, she and I “doubled” on a pair of toms 40 yards from a blind, using premier  Benelli Vinci shotguns. Our turkey coach/guide, Hunter’s Specialties’ Pro-Staff member Jimmy Estes, gets a lot of the credit for our success. About the trip, Shannon confessed, “I was a little excited but nervous, because I didn’t know what to expect … I think I packed too much camo.” She had hunted twice before, for doves and for deer. She came to camp with three dove kills to her record, and said, “When you go out there and not see anything, it’s so disappointing. When I was deer hunting, I just wanted to see something!”

She continued, “I always heard the best thing about turkey hunting was the interaction with the birds … and I’d roll my eyes and think ‘whatever,’ but being here and you sit for awhile, and then you see the sun come up and the birds start gobbling and calling to each other; it’s like being a kid again.”

Hunter's Specialties' Pro-Staffer Pat Muffler coaches Shannon on how to make yelping sounds on the slate call.

Hunter's Specialties' Pro-Staffer Pat Muffler coaches Shannon on her box call yelps.

Besides taking home two beards, fans and sets of spurs, Shannon said she’ll always remember the people, and the camaraderie of this hunt. She said, “Everyone has been so excited for me to get two birds, and this is really strange, and it’s probably because I haven’t hunted before, but I just want the other people to limit out. I just want to do everything I can to help them. If I can do it, you can do it.”

She continued, “To have no experience and to come here and shoot two birds, that’s a testament to the gun and to the people and to the caller and to the guides and everybody who set this up. I just want everybody to succeed at this and we can all get our pictures made. That was unexpected for me.”

Will hunting be a more prevalent part of her future now? Most emphatically, she answers, “Yes, with my fiancé!”

She adds, “I know there will be other hunts where I won’t see anything, but if you don’t go, you’ll never see anything.” ~ Barbara Baird

Shannon Coggin, Hunter's Specialties' Guide Jimmy Estes and Babbs. Photo by Lisa Metheny.

  • About Barbara Baird

    Publisher/Editor Barbara Baird is a freelance writer in hunting, shooting and outdoor markets. Her bylines are found at several top hunting and shooting publications. She also is a travel writer, and you can follow her at https://www.ozarkian.com.


The Conversation

  • Brent Lawrence says: April 16, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    I’m so happy for Shannon. She’s makes the whole NWTF proud. She’s a top-notch employee and now she’s a seasoned turkey hunter, too.

    Nice job to you too, Barb.

  • Tammy Ballew says: April 14, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    Congratulations to all of you! And, Shannon, one of the really great things about your first hunt, is it’s all uphill from here; it only gets better and better. The more you learn, the more you want to lean. The more you go, the more you want to go.

  • Marti Davis says: April 14, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    Congrats on to all involved on a very successful adventure!