Learn To Hunt: Turkeys with Becoming an Outdoors Woman

Apr 8, 2024 | 0 comments

A few weeks back, I saw an ad on the Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW) Facebook page for a Learn to Hunt Turkeys workshop. It was a nominal fee for a full hunting experience in northern Wisconsin. I’ve never hunted before, but have had extensive firearms training. I had to sign up!

At the beginning of March, BOW held a virtual gathering to get to know each other and go over the expectations for the hunt. The next step was to complete my Hunter’s Safety online and prepare for the Field Day (the practical portion and test to obtain a hunting license). What felt like hours on the computer, I finally completed the course and was ready for Field Day.

Field Day

Field Day in Stevens Point, WI rolled around and we learned about tree stands, hunting blinds, animal calls, different firearms, and we got to practice shooting targets. For those of us who wanted to get our hunting license, we had to take an oral test about everything we learned. I passed with flying colors! It was time to pair off with our hunting mentors and come up with a plan for the hunt.

A week later, it was time to head up to Rosholt, WI and prepare for the hunt. I got paired up with Adam and his wife, Rayne. They are both very experienced hunters and I felt comfortable and ready to work with them.

Lions Camp entrance sign

Lions Camp

I arrive at Lions Camp and get settled in the Health Lodge. Not going to lie, the accommodations were a little awkward. I was expecting them to come out with straight jackets next. Luckily, since I arrived early, I got a basic room with little to no creepiness. Adam and Rayne arrived shortly thereafter.

We all gathered in a nearby building at camp to discuss what to expect with a short demonstration. Afterwards, we paired off with our mentors and began discussing the hunt. Adam, Rayne, and I decided to head out to local public lands at dusk and do various animal calls in hopes to get a gobble response. With luck on our side, we heard faint gobbles coming from a few hundred yards away. We were happy with what we heard and decided that was the spot we were going back to in the morning.

My alarm goes off at 4:00 AM. I woke up, get my caffeine, and got dressed in my camouflage. Side note: turkeys have amazing vision. Therefore, you need to dress completely in camo to stay hidden. Adam and Rayne met me outside at approximately 5:15 AM. We hop in the car and head to the spot we found the night before.

The Woods were Waking up

We trudged through a mile of swampland. This hike was no joke. I got stuck in the mud and almost lost my boot. Once we got through the bog, we came upon this perfect clearing surrounded by trees. Adam and Rayne set up the decoy hen about 25 yards from my position. I am nestled against a tree, sitting on the ground. Adam sets up in a nearby tree while Rayne and I stay hidden 25 yards from the decoy.

Adam starts making all sorts of hen calls. After about 20 minutes, five turkeys emerge from the nearby woods (one tom and four jakes). A tom is an adult male turkey and a jake is a juvenile male turkey.  Since you are only legally allowed to shoot one turkey and the five that emerged were huddled up, I had to wait. I sat completely still; solid as a rock. My 12 gauge shotgun was propped up on my knee pointed at the flock waiting for one of the birds to break way. A few minutes pass, but it feels like time has stopped. One of the jakes starts poking his way towards the decoy.

This is it. I switch off the safety. Three. Two. One. Deep breath. I pull the trigger, aiming directly for the head. Bang! I got him! The nerves are still active in the jake for a few minutes, but it gives one final wing flop, and it’s game over. I successfully harvested my first turkey.

We did our photo op, bagged up the bird, and found a different trail that led us back to the car. Once we got back to camp, we field dressed the turkey (cut it up). I kept the tail feathers and a few wing feathers and plan to make a beautiful display for my wall. I also harvested the breasts, thighs, and legs.

Becoming an Outdoors Woman information

This is my third BOW workshop. I highly recommend their programs. They are active in 38 states and 6 Canadian provinces. Becoming an Outdoors Woman also does international trips. Check them out here: Home – Becoming an Outdoors-Woman | UWSP.

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Jess Nessler

Wisconsin Guide

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