Growing up, I always wanted to be just like my dad. He is the one who taught this farm girl how to hunt.
I'm an avid deer hunter, but this past spring, I tried something new. I traded the blaze orange I wear for white-tail hunting for camo. This would be my first Minnesota turkey hunt, and I was guided by Mitch Banks, who lives in southeast Minnesota.
On a perfect early-May morning, Mitch and I sat in a blind in the middle of an alfalfa field near Cannon Falls. Mitch is an excellent caller, and a dozen birds responded to him at sunrise.
A lone tom started off our morning show. He was about 200 yards away and was soon joined by two hens and two doe whitetails. One of the deer toyed with the hens by shaking her head and kicking up her feet.
Next, four jakes joined the field party, and the strut was on.
About 45 minutes passed before the birds came to within 20 yards of our decoys. The big tom was among them, and watching him strut so close to the blind on such a beautiful morning was a very intimate experience.
Then, bang. Big boy down!
Shaking with excitement, I high-fived Mitch.
I also shed a couple of tears knowing I was successful thanks to the shotgun my dad had passed down to me.
It is a day I will never forget.