Take a Kid Hunting

We need and ought to take as many kids hunting with us as we possibly can, but I’m not exactly sure why so few of us actually carry through on that espoused edict. Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s not hard, your kid will love you more for it and now is the time to make plans to take your kid turkey hunting this spring. And if you are in the least bit interested in introducing your youngster to hunting, turkey hunting is the way to do it. Amysbird

“ Dad,” my 14-year-old daughter Amy (pictured) explained to me one day on the way to camp, “I really want to shoot a turkey. It’s not nearly as boring as deer hunting is and I want to eat a wild turkey for Thanksgiving.”

That’s all I needed to hear. I managed to find a hunter safety program that somehow jived with her basketball, volleyball, community service and socialization schedule and we were off (btw: Amy scored a 100% on the hunter safety test).

At first light on the first morning of New York State’s Youth Turkey Weekend, Amy and I had planted ourselves against an old oak tree about 200 yards from a pile of gobbling birds. It took a while, but Amy performed far better than I did on my first turkey hunt and dumped a nice bird at 35 yards. I don’t think that I ever got on a flopping bird faster than I did on that late-April morning nor do I think I ever enjoyed eating a wild turkey gobbler more on Thanksgiving.

Many states have now scheduled youth turkey hunts. We've got the full listing here, but please check with your state fish and game department before heading afield. Take your kid hunting. You’ll never regret that you did.

—Gerry Bethge