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First Turkey Hunt pt 2

One of the best mornings of my life.

The hunt was unsuccessful, but the day was a tremendous success.

We had turkeys coming on us almost immediately when the son came up. My Dad was behind us calling, the decoys were to our back right and 2 longbeards were coming from the front left. It looked like my sons first turkey hunt was going to be a slam dunk 15 minutes. We had built a blind and given my son a 5 gallon bucket swivel seat to sit on and he could see over the top of the blind perfect and he had my 20 gauge over and under ready to go. The birds came to the point that we had stepped off at 20 yards and I told my son to take the first one, he got a little nervous and didn't get the shot off so I told him to switch to the second bird and take a shot. He did. What he didn't do was brace himself for the recoil. I knew the gun was gonna bump him back a little so I had a hand on the front grip to help and I held on to the gun as my 8 year old flew backwards off the bucket seat and lay on the ground, feet in the air, as both turkeys ran the other in a hurry. I assessed the situation clicked the shotgun to safe and we began to laugh. We laughed for quite a while and I was so relieved he could find the humor in it and not be scared or so embarrassed that the whole experience was ruined. Then we laughed some more.

We got real close one more time and then we did a little target practice and rode around on the John Deere gator and concluded a great 10 mile hunting trip before noon.

I don't want to have a debate about hunting or guns so please don't go that route, I do own this blog, what I do want to talk about is a Discipline Test and a Parenting thought all wrapped in one.

After the recoil of the shotgun sent my 8 year old flying back off his seat, I could tell he didn't want to shoot the shotgun again. I didn't ask him, he didn't say it, but it was pretty clear. We hunted a little more and we never had the opportunity for him to take another shot. When we decided we were done hunting I knew what we had to do. I took a cardboard box, drew a turkey head and neck on it and stapled it to a tree and got his bucket. I told him we needed to practice so he wouldn't miss next time. In reality it had nothing to do with perfecting his aim, I had to make him shoot that shotgun again.

I didn't want to, I knew he was a little scared to do it and that he might be happier at the end of the day if we just put it in the case and back in the jeep. I knew I wouldn't have as much risk of him looking back at this day and thinking how mad he was at me if I didn't make him shoot. It just wasn't an option, I had to make him shoot it as a true discipline test for both of us. I had to do it so I could remind myself that the best decisions I can make as a parent aren't always (in fact almost never are) the ones that are gonna make my kids smile. My job is not to make them smile (don't think I am a dictator, I love to make them smile and my kids are happy kids, it's just not my job as a parent) my job is to teach them how to survive society and how to make decisions and choices that will lead to become a certain type of person.

It was also a discipline test for my boy. He had to do it to prove to himself that he wasn't easy to beat. He needed to prove to himself that just because something made you uncomfortable doesn't mean you should ignore it or quit it, sometimes you just gotta do it again and keep doing it until you whip it.

I sat the bucket down and told him he needed to take a couple shots to be sure he could hit the target. He looked at me with a sad face and one tear rolled. I said "ok, just one shot", he kinda smiled took the shotgun, sat down, did everything correctly and safe and took a shot at the target and put a bunch of pellets right in the center of the target, and another tear rolled as he put the gun on safe and handed it to me. I took it and asked him if I could take one shot. He let me, I hit the target too and then we tore it down and went and got the .22 pistols and rifle and did some target shooting with a lot less recoil.

The kid is an incredible shot and has a level of maturity that can't be achieved without being PROPERLY exposed to something that requires as much responsibility as handling a firearm. Read that sentence again, I didn't say guns were the only way, I said they were one way.

Truly a day that I will never forget!!


  1. Cody,
    I just want you to know that I think you are a GREAT FATHER. I admire and respect your parenting skills. I wish more parents were
    like you with their children.



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