Remington Outdoor Hunters invited several women from various walks of life to a women’s turkey hunt last year at the renowned Chain Ranch, near Canton, Okla. Two women attended, courtesy of Freedom Hunters, along with country western singer and alum from Season 2 of “The Voice,” Adley Stump, from Nashville. The Freedom Hunters crew included Jataya Maria Taylor, retired Marine, wounded in training, and Adriana Galvan, 68W Health Care NCO in the Army Reserve. Remington’s Ashley Kerr hosted the hunt.
We spent 2 days turkey hunting, and we all tagged out. Neither Adley nor Jataya had ever turkey hunted before this trip. They asked a lot of questions of the rest of us, and I felt that when they left, they would hunt again, if given the opportunity.
While I was there, I tagged my first bird early in the morning — after crawling through the timbers and over cow poo.
We came in and went out, success after success — fighting hard, fast winds and dry, sparse conditions at times.
In fact, I had the weirdest hunt of my life while out for my second bird. Three guides accompanied me on a late afternoon hunt. I don’t necessarily need 3 guides per hunt, but 2 came along to scope out this part of the property (or so they said). We had a miss – after climbing into a gorge, running an end maneuver around some sage and other bushes and discovering that we couldn’t close the distance. Afterward, we climbed to a hilltop and stood, facing a deer stand on stilts and talking about where to go next. Then, it got weird.
“Barbara, I need for you to step up and put your face against the building,” said my guide, Justin. “You, too, Brian,” he said. Eddie stood near the side of the building, smoking. We froze in place.
“They’re coming our direction, 3 turkeys, and they’re right behind us at about 150 yards,” whispered Justin. We stood there, and he performed the slowest yoga move I’d ever seen. He leaned against the blind and craned his neck to look over his left shoulder, while his right arm rested on the building. It looked painful.
He gave us a step-by-step description of the turkeys’ maneuvers, and Eddie? He dove under the blind – lit cigarette in mouth – and proceeded to peer out between our legs at the birds. He worked the mouth call between puffs. He said later he had to carefully crush some embers by hand that fell into the grass.
Justin whispered, “Turn 45 degrees left. He’s at about 15 yards.”
I turned slowly, raised my shotgun, pulled the trigger and missed. The tom burst into the air and the others followed suit. A brisk breeze caught him and drove him back toward us – wings splayed – for about a split second. He hung there in midair, and then, pitched down a hillside and landed in the dirt. That’s when it got even more interesting.
I sprinted to the edge of the hilltop, looked down at that tom and took a shot at its head. I credit the Remington turkey load for putting this tom down at about 55 yards.
I created this video (below) to show the camaraderie and teamwork in play throughout the women’s turkey hunt. I feel fortunate that I could spend a morning in a turkey blind with Jataya and her guide at the ranch.