The Thrill Of The Hunt By Jillian Lopiccolo
Well, this was my second time Turkey hunting, and my first successful kill. I had gone out one time before last year, but never had a shot at anything. My brother Sam is the one who got me interested in hunting. He is my hunting partner and best friend. Without him I would’ve never become so interested in hunting, fishing, and the outdoors. I have been hunting since I was 14 years old, and since then I have shot 4 bucks with my bow, 1 with my rifle, a 4-horn Jacobs Ram, and now my very first Tom Turkey.
My brother and I woke up around 4 am on May 15th, 2004. It was a chilly morning, but calm, and no rain in the forecast. I was very excited and couldn’t wait to head out into the woods. We had about an hour drive to his friend Gary’s house where we would be hunting. The whole drive there I was picturing a big Tom, all fanned out, strutting towards some Hens. His beard dragging on the ground and a beautiful fan of feathers shining in the sun behind him. When we finally arrived at Gary’s, we gathered all our gear and headed into the woods. We set up our pop-up blind, decoys, and did some calling, but no luck. We stayed there for a while and then decided to try another spot since we hadn’t seen anything or heard any gobbles.
After finding a new spot, we began unloading our gear and putting our vests and back-packs on, when out of the silence, we heard a Gobble…and it sounded close! The three of us just looked at each other and smiled. We all knew what to do. We grabbed our stuff as fast as we could and headed into the woods again to set up before this Turkey made it to the gas line where we believed it was heading. We ran through the woods and once we arrived at the gas line, set up as quickly as possible. The pop-up blind, chairs, camera, and decoys were set up in minutes. Once we were all situated in the blind and the camera was rolling, we started doing some calls. Every time we did a call, a gobble followed. The gobbles were getting closer and closer until finally he popped out at the edge of the gas- line about 250 yards away. My heart began to race. Gary did the calling while my brother video-taped. This Tom was fanned out and strutting down the gas line trying to impress the decoys we had set up. I couldn’t believe it, it was like a dream!!! Every few steps he took, he puffed out his feathers. Step by step he got closer and closer.
My heart began to beat even faster. He finally stepped into shooting range, and I slowly raised my shotgun to my shoulder and waited for the right moment. I waited patiently for him to bring his head up and put his beautiful fan of feathers down. Finally, with a few quick strikes on the slate call, his head quickly popped up, and I pulled the trigger. I made a perfect shot!! We quickly jumped out of the blind to make sure he was down for good, which he was. We flipped him over, checked out his beard which was 8 1/2 inches long and then fanned out his feathers. He was just beautiful. I sat there for a minute and just thought about how amazing and beautiful the outdoors and nature truly are. My brother and Gary both congratulated me on my first Turkey and we took some pictures on the scene.
This was my first successful Turkey hunt, and I hope it is not my last because it was an unbelievable experience. I was so happy that my brother was there to see me shoot my first turkey, and video tape it so that the rest of my family and friends can see it and appreciate the outdoors as much as we do.
I hope you liked the story of my hunt. Many women don’t get much recognition as hunters, and this means a lot to me and it is greatly appreciated. Thank you.