My First-Ever Turkey Hunt Ended With…

Deer came out into the clearing at around 6 a.m.


Not a shot fired.

I woke up at 4 a.m., after a restless night’s sleep, trekked through fields, sat in a bush with hundreds of mosquitoes for three hours and managed to see but never shoot at a gobbler (male turkey).

It was absolutely worth it.

Yeah, 100%. I’d do it again tomorrow morning and go to work afterwards if I could.

I’ve always wanted to learn to hunt. Last autumn, I took part in my first deer hunt. Although I didn’t kill a deer, our group bagged 13 and my girlfriend and I still have deer meat in our freezer. It’s almost June.

Today, I decided to try my hand a turkey hunting before the season closed.

I think most people have these dreams of grandeur when it comes to hunting. I know I did. I picture myself landing the perfect shot on a 10-point buck on opening day. Bagging the biggest, most colourful turkey the moment it came out of the tree in the morning.

Its fun to dream sometimes.

But hunting, from my experience thus far, is nothing like that.

I’ll avoid talking about deer hunting in this blog because it’s not the season and there’s lots of good to speak for about turkey hunting anyway.

Sitting among those mosquitoes and bugs was worth every bite and subsequent itch.

Have you ever immersed yourself deep into a forest before the sun rises so you can listen to the world literally come alive around you?

I don’t care if you’re a hunter or not, go do something like that this summer.

So many of our attempts to reconnect with nature, so to speak, are via a gravel path in a conservation area on a weekend with nice weather. There’s nothing wrong with that. I do it too and in Ontario, we have terrific conservation areas. But there’s something special and quintessentially Canadian about sitting in a forest with a shotgun waiting for dinner to get within a safe shooting range. Our entire nation’s history — from the settlers to the natives — revolves around hunting. This country wouldn’t be what it is today without hunting and the fur trade, which makes it a national pastime far older than hockey.

I got to also spend time outdoors with my girlfriend (she introduced me to hunting as a matter of fact) and her grandpa. Even though we didn’t get anything and I was the only one who saw the gobbler, we all shared stories of the hunt.

That’s what I’ve come to learn about hunting: it’s as much about the stories and the bonding as it is about the food you’re hunting.

I plan to try my hand at waterfowl this September and I know I’ll be gunning for a turkey and a deer later that fall as well. I’ll continue to grow those bonds and expand the list of hunting stories I can one day bore my kids to death with. Can’t wait…

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