This photograph is just one of more than 100 spring turkey photos I took on our annual spring turkey hunting trip this year with our boys. I love turkey hunting, but honestly, it does not matter to me all that much if I “harvest” a turkey or not.
The first day we went out, I took my bow along and left my camera in the truck. Well, all day long, I kicked myself, because of all the great photos I was missing, such as 1) our older son – using an old rusted, abandoned car in the field as a blind, with four toms peaking over the hood of the car, trying to peer through tall grass to figure out if there was danger or 2) our younger son backed up into an overgrown bush, sporting a mud-painted face (aka turkey poo). He had perfectly camouflaged himself by collecting sticks, leaves and discarded feathers. As evening fell, I watched the entire flock come in and literally surround both of our boys in their “hiding” spots; but hunting with longbows, neither one was able to move for a shot without spooking away the entire flock.
The next morning, when I left the truck with my camera in hand, my husband just laughed at me, but didn’t argue. He knows, too, we weren’t really there just to kill something. It was more important to us that our boys get another chance at harvesting a turkey with their longbows, or, at the very least, they get the opportunity to choose their “hunting spot” and figure out where turkeys might pass by. For a child to know that he sat perfectly still and let an entire flock of more than 100 turkeys pass by at less than 15 yards because he didn’t have a clear shot (without being detected), to sit and listen to calls, and to watch the hens and toms interact, and to learn the different tones they use when they spot danger and before they all fly to their roost tree for the evening … and for us to see the big smiles on their faces and hear in their words just how close that one turkey was, or did you see that hen that was limping or the beard on that one tom? Well, THAT is what hunting is really all about.
I love hunting and I love spending time in the outdoors with my family, but as a photographer, there are times when I get just as much enjoyment by trading in my bow for my camera. And though the camera does not fill the freezer, I seldom return home empty handed.
In the past year I have talked to more women than I can count who really do not have a desire to hunt, but their husbands, fathers, sons or boyfriends have encouraged them to come along and spend time with them during hunting season. My advice to these women is always go! You don’t HAVE to hunt, you can always just watch or take your camera. You don’t have to like shooting guns, you don’t have to want to kill something, but if you take the time to go along, you may be surprised at just how much fun you will have, and what you might learn – about nature, about your significant other and even about your self. ~ Stacey Huston
Stacey Huston is an outdoorswoman to the core, and would much rather spend time in the high country than in the local shopping mall, and feels more at home in heavy timber than in a salon. She is an accomplished photographer and is the staff photographer for Journey With Red Hawk T.V. series. Stacey is also a licensed falconer and raptor rehabilitation volunteer, helping injured raptors to once again soar on open skies. She resides with her husband of 18 years and their two boys in the mountains of western Wyoming. To see her photography, go to http://www.staceyhuston.com/