Hogs....down in the bog!

Hogs....down in the bog!

April 19, 2011

Hello Spring Gobblers!

As turkey season is almost upon us (can I get an AMEN?), I reminisce about my first season turkey hunting. Turkey season was how I began my hunting career, so every year when it comes around I am reminded of my start with this crazy sport. I broke the following story into two parts because it is way too long to read at once. I'll post the second half next week, right before opening day.

Spring Turkey Season: Part 1
The whole plan for turkey season was that I was going to head into the woods with Josh and videotape him. That would give me the opportunity to see what hunting was all about, without actually having to do the hunting myself. Josh gathered up some old camouflage that he and his brother had and mixed it in with some new things he had picked up for me. My favorite of my new gifts was the Thermacell to keep bugs away; that thing is awesome! Now, I am not normally a sit back and watch type of girl, so I decided to continue that approach with hunting. Why should Josh get to have all the fun? Find me a gun and let’s get a turkey! I do realize it is a little more complicated than that, so I sent Josh a quick email explaining my new desire. According to him he just about fell off his chair at the office. Looking back, I realize that it was a little shocking. I went from never wanting to hunt, to possibly wanting to just go along and videotape, to wanting to bag me a turkey. What can I say, I like a challenge.

Now I needed a gun. Josh happened to have his brother’s old twenty-gauge shotgun from when Jarrid was a kid, and decided to start me out on this. So off we went. He suited me up one afternoon, I wore my camouflage shirt so that I would look the part, and took me to the old container yard to try some target practice. Josh had forgotten the ear protection, but I assured him that I could handle this. I mean, how loud could this thing possibly be? He placed my target about twenty yards away from where I was stationed. (Apparently for all you non-hunters that was not very far and I should be able to be successful. Josh is a very positive reinforcement type of teacher-he wants me to have success and build my confidence-which is very sweet). Walking back to me he placed my seat cushion on the ground against one of their roll-off containers.

“Hold on, I have to sit in the dirt?”
“You aren’t in the dirt, you are sitting on a cushion. The cushion is in the dirt.”
“Okay, but I am leaning against a dirty container. Wait a minute, are there
snakes under there. I swear to God, Josh, if I see a snake I am out of here.”
“There are no snakes, it’s way too cold for them.”
“How do you know that?”
“Just sit down.”
“Fine, but I am serious, one snake and I’m gone.” (Of course he was right and
we didn’t see any snakes, but still, one could have been right behind me at
any moment.)

Josh explained the basic fundamentals of a shotgun; where the shell goes, which way the shell needs to point, where the safety is, how to tuck it into my shoulder, and how to line up the open sight. He reminded me again that it was going to be louder than my .22, and it was definitely going to kick more. He showed me exactly where and how to tuck it into my shoulder. I tucked my shotgun into my shoulder, adjusted my sunglasses, lined up my sight, took one deep breath, and BOOM!

Tears welled up in my eyes and poured down my cheeks. I practically threw my gun at Josh and started shaking.

            “Why didn’t you warn me how loud that was! My shoulder
hurts! You didn’t tell me it would kick that much.”  (I am practically sobbing..)
            “Yes I did.”
            “No you didn’t!”
            “Sue you’re okay, I promise.”
            “It hurts, I cannot do that. That thing nearly blew my arm off!”
            “No it didn’t. Let’s go see where your shot went.”

So up we went, walking what seemed like a mile to that dinosaur target (yes I thought the turkey target was a dinosaur target the first time I saw them-I still think it would be cooler to shoot dinosaur targets than turkey targets). I was supposed to be aiming for. Honestly, I have no idea where I was even aiming; my eyes may or may not have closed when I pulled the trigger.  I know you aren’t supposed to do that, by how the heck are you supposed to keep you eyes open when something booms that loudly and throws itself into you mere inches from your face? Well apparently I had a pretty good shot, or at least that’s what he told me. So we headed back through the field to my little cushion in the dirt. Well forget the fact that I just nearly blew off my shoulder and blew out my eardrums in the same shot, if Josh thinks that I am not half bad at this, then I am shooting again. (And that was the moment that my competitive spirit kicked into gear). He loaded me up and I shot a few more times before the kick of the rifle made me black and blue. I’m serious; my shoulder literally was black and blue the next day.

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