The post-hunt pictures make it look like I know exactly what I'm doing, but trust me, I don't. Just three turkey hunts into my career (two solo and one guiding my dad), I've quickly compiled a list of what not to do.

Gary Hauck is all smiles after his 24 lb., 10"-plus bearded gobbler - his first. I'd be all smiles, too, if I didn't have to field dress it!

· Do you remember that scene in Jurassic Park where the insurance man runs into the bathroom, only to have T-Rex level it and devour him? That's what my opening morning turkey hunt resembled. If you use a pop-up blind – even with winds light and variable - stake it down. When a gust of wind blows it right over the top of you, the turkeys have just pantsed you and had you for breakfast.

· Every scar has a story behind it. I'll bet some are pretty cool. Others go something like this. "Yeah, I thought the bird was dead. He wasn't. Another eighth of an inch and I'm looking for a good surgeon to reattach that index finger." Perform a thorough autopsy.

· It's easy to get jacked up for the first day of your hunt, and the adrenaline sustains you. On day number two, my patience started to wane. I nestled into the (now staked) blind at 5:45AM. Sure it was lunch time, I packed up and headed for the truck. It was 8AM. Which is exactly when a gobble sounded mysteriously close to my blind. Wear a watch, along with an extra layer of patience.

· If you've ever wondered what it's like to be tangled in a parachute, disassemble your pop-up blind in a 20mph wind.

· When your dog has been known to put more things in his mouth than a goat, don't leave the jake tail fan you plan on preserving for a decoy accessibly lying around.

· Finally, when taking your dad, friend or any other family member out, make sure they take more than a half-day off at work – or else guess who gets stuck cleaning their bird?