published Thursday, March 26th, 2009

Patience is the basic lesson in helping youth hunt

by Dan Cook

“Turkey hunting is by far the best way to introduce anyone to hunting,” Chris Walls said during this year’s National Wild Turkey Federation convention in Nashville.

“The weather’s nice. The dogwoods are blooming. The birds are chirping. It’s the whole deal: the interaction.”

Director of public relations for the Warner Law Offices of Charleston, W.Va., he has a special interest in helping boys and girls discover the merits of the outdoors. He also is on the Hunter’s Specialties pro staff.

Sportsman clubs often help with annual hunting days designated just for the youth, and club members often teach hunter safety courses for young sportsmen. Statistics indicate the outgrowth of the program has trimmed hunting accidents.

Walls offers some other tips for taking youths hunting:

Use a blind. While camouflaged clothing is highly recommended, a blind makes it possible for a youth to move about without spooking a bird or to take a nap if the stay gets long.

While a seasoned hunter may want more space and the chance to relocate from time to time, a blind helps develop the patience that is needed for any successful turkey hunt.

Allow the youth to do some calling. A push-button or box call is easy even for children to operate.

“Always talk about wildlife,” Walls stressed. “Discuss fox squirrels or rabbits. The youngsters may well love it.”

“Bring along binoculars and allow them to look at crows or whatever,” Walls said.

Show the young sportsmen how to study animal tracks, including those of gobblers and hens.

Mastering the basics will help a youngster experience the lure of the outdoors, Walls believes. More advanced knowledge, including other things to observe when turkey hunting, will come with experience.

Any hunter, regardless of age, should avoid thinking he’s the only one who has called a particular turkey.

“I never approach a turkey thinking I’m the first person who ever hunted it, because chances are I’m not,” Walls said. “The chances are that someone else, even if it’s on private property that you and only two or three other guys have hunted, has been after that turkey.

“Always approach a turkey thinking the bird is kind of spooky.”

Spookiness may well be the case with a hesitating turkey you’re certain has heard the call, he said.

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