If you know a young person who is dying to go hunting, take that critter on a turkey hunt this spring. As long as that youngster has a hunter education card, he or she can hunt turkeys.
The young hunter will have to have a turkey license and a conservation stamp to hunt, so make sure you get those items at the closest Game and Fish regional office, or at the headquarters in Cheyenne, before you go. And if you’re going to hunt on private land, get the landowner’s written permission before you plan your trip.
It’s also a good idea to quiz the junior hunter on the differences between male and female turkeys before you go. In the spring, only male turkeys, or those with visible beards, can be shot. Be sure the younger members of your hunting party – and the older members, for that matter – can tell the difference before you get to the field.
As with everything you do when firearms are involved, make safety the No. 1 priority. Don’t wear any red, white or blue clothing. Those colors can be mistaken for parts of wild turkeys by other hunters. And don’t try to sneak up on a call. It might be another hunter instead of a bird.
While you’re out in the field, use the trip as a chance to teach hunting ethics. Follow all the rules on your hunt. Be a good example for the young hunter. Your actions will speak much louder than your words. The only way that child will have the opportunity to teach the next generation to hunt is if today’s hunters abide by the laws and use good judgement.
But don’t forget to have some fun. Point out the other species of wildlife you see. Take the long way back to the vehicle and show Junior more country. Even if you don’t get a turkey, make sure the trip is enjoyable.
So get your son or daughter, or a friend or relative’s youngster, and head for the hills.