A truly blessed turkey hunt — the story of Shelly Ray’s first turkey

Truly blessed – not for the kill, but for the friendships

We all talk about the fact that it’s not about the kill, but about the hunt itself, and I couldn’t have found this to be truer than last week on a hunt in Nebraska with a wonderful group of amazing people.

The set up

Shelly Ray is ready to start the journey on her fist turkey hunt!

Shelly Ray, proprietor of HERCAMOSHOP.com,  is ready to start the journey on her turkey hunt!

Becky Lou Lacock contacted Brady Thomas, of Heritage Outfitters-Nebraska, to set up a hunt that he would guide for three lucky ladies. I saw the post on Facebook and thought that it looked like fun. My husband, Jeff, urged me to go. I waited until the next day, thinking that surely I had missed my opportunity and the spots would be filled. To my surprise only one other spot had been taken, by Mia Anstine. I knew then that these were two ladies I would love to hunt with, having met them several times at different events. So I accepted the invitation and it was on! We all three believe that it was fate that brought us together. With Becky Lou from Texas and me from Indiana, to our surprise we ended up on the same airlines and our flights landed within five minutes of each other. Mia, being from Colorado, drove and picked us up at the Denver airport and we were off to Curtis, Nebr.

I was quite nervous hunting with two ladies who have so much more experience hunting than I do. Mia is a guide/outfitter in Colorado and New Mexico. Becky Lou has participated in several hunts during the last 13 years. Then we have me – who has been hunting for only five years and who has never been on a successful turkey hunt. But, I was bound and determined that I was going to do this!

I never imagined the week I would be in for. My head is still spinning. We arrived in the afternoon on Monday and Brady was there to get us in about an hour and we hit the ground running – literally.  The first property we drove to, we saw birds as soon as we drove in. The girls decided that I should be the first to get a shot since I had not harvested a turkey before now. It was at this time I thought I better tell Brady that I’ve had two hip replacements, so there might be some things I can’t do but I would be sure to let him know. I didn’t want to sound wimpy, but I knew I would have some limitations. Being from Indiana, it’s really flat. Not the case in Nebraska, and by the way, I have renamed their hills as Indiana mountains.

My first turkey

Shelly Ray, proprietor of HERCAMOSHOP.com, with her fist turkey.

Shelly Ray, with her first turkey! A Nebraska beauty.

I think adrenaline took over, because I was able to stay with Brady all the way up this “mountain.” We got to the top and there were about a dozen turkeys. I took my shot and got my first ever turkey. I thought I was going to explode. I grabbed and hugged this man that I had only met an hour before. I’m sure he was stunned. We retrieved my bird and walked back to where the girls were and at that point I thought they were going to knock me over hugging me. It was the first time I had ever had anyone be so excited for my harvest. Needless to say, lots of pictures followed this hunt. When I called Jeff to tell him about my bird, I thought he was going to cry. He was so excited for me. I could hear the pride in his voice. It made me so happy to have him so excited for me.

To read the rest of this story, visit Outdoors with Shelly Ray.

Becky Lou Lacock, Shelly Ray and Mia Anstine harvested five turkey while in Nebraska, but had more fun strengthening their friendship and making memories.

Becky Lou Lacock, Shelly Ray and Mia Anstine with Shelly’s second bird. This one has three beards!


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    The Women's Outdoor News, aka The WON, features news, reviews and stories about women who are shooting, hunting, fishing and actively engaging in outdoor adventure. This publication is for women, by women.