“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.
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 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.”
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