When you arrive at a hunting lodge and sit down to an elk-steak dinner and you're introduced to your hunting guide, a Kentucky guy named Squirt, you know it's going to be a good turkey hunt.
I spent three days at Whitetail Creek Outfitters in Cadiz, Kentucky, this April, chasing longbeards with a group of girlfriends — some were old friends and some were new ones. I don't go on a lot of women-only hunts, so this was a rare treat for me. Tammy Sapp with Bass Pro Shops and Melanie Swearingen of the National Wild Turkey Federation were our hosts. Bass Pro just purchased the SHE Outdoor Apparel brand, so we were outfitted with comfortable new SHE gear. Brenda Valentine, the "First Lady of Hunting," was along, and by the end of dinner on the first night she'd scared us so badly with the story of her Alpha-Gal allergy — a tick-borne disease that literally forces its victim to become a vegetarian — that we were so paranoid about ticks, we forgot to worry about snakes. But just in case, we were outfitted with Redhead snake boots anyway! And let me tell you, if you're a woman and you're used to wearing men's camo and boots because you haven't found any women's gear that fits, get yourself to Bass Pro Shops and check out the expanded SHE line.
I sat in various blinds and against several different trees for three days with Squirt. On the first evening I made one boneheaded range-estimation mistake and missed a jake. On the second and final evening, we did have one close call with a gobbler that hung up at a frighteningly close 10 yards away — he just needed to take three more steps into the field to give me a shooting angle I could manage out of the blind window. Unfortunately, after several heart-pounding minutes, he turned around and strutted off down the trail, disappearing into the woods, safely out of range of my 11-87.
The hunting was tough, but the good news is that three girls in our group did score on gobblers. As it happened, the two girls on the trip who had never killed turkeys before both scored in Kentucky that week. Lisa Densmore and Kristine Houtman both dropped nice gobblers, and Melanie shot a nice longbeard before the end of the trip, as well. It couldn't have gone much better.
Check out the following video for more info on the Bass Pro/SHE acquisition.
Photos by Lisa Densmore.