Img_1200Earlier this year an amazing thing happened in the offices of Outdoor Life and Field & Stream, which far from the topics they cover, are set in a cold, brick building on Park Avenue in the heart of Manhattan. Approximately nine of my co-workers—from our marketing, sales and production staffs and all non-hunters—took a day from work and participated in a hunter safety course so that they could obtain the certificate they would need to buy a hunting license.

That is nine new potential sportsmen and women, most of whom have had little experience in the outdoors, short of an occasional fishing or camping trip, before coming to work with the publications. The fact that they took the initiative to set up the lessons makes the feat even more impressive. It seems they all wanted the chance to hunt.

This past weekend, Mara Sherman, one of the classes graduates, took her first official step into the hunting world courtesy of an invite from Mark and Terry Drury to join them on a turkey hunt in northern Missouri. And man, did she score big.

Img_12072On the first morning of her hunt, after a lot of maneuvering, Mara killed her first longbeard, a hog of a turkey that tipped the scales at a whopping 29 pounds. No, that’s not a mistype, I said 29 pounds.

Now I’ve been on a lot of turkey hunts in the past 16 years and while I’ve seen some magnificent birds taken (my heaviest only weighed in at 25 ½ pounds), the closest to Mara’s turkey’s weight that I’ve seen brought in weighed 27 pounds. That turkey was also a product of northern Missouri’s fantastic habitat of woods bisected by lush, green pastures and set among rolling hills. In fact, come to think of it, so was mine.

Look at Mara with her trophy, it dwarfs the hunter it is so large. All of the guys in the office can do little, but to shake their heads and tell Mara that she can only go down from there. Indeed, most people will never take a gobbler that is so heavy.

When I asked her about her impressions of her first hunt, Mara said she really enjoyed the countryside and the strategy and maneuvering necessary to get a shot at the bird, but, she confessed, “When it came to sitting a long time, I wasn’t crazy about that.”

Don’t worry Mara, I know a lot of turkey chasing veterans who aren’t either. Keep up the great work and I hope you get the chance to go out again.

And congrats to all the new hunters at OL and F&S, just let me know if I can help you plan a trip far, far from the city.