As the ladies continue to swell the ranks of the hunting camps and woods afield all over the country, the guys are starting to wake up to the natural skills that female hunters possess.
It could be said that this goes so far to alert us men hunters there are a few things we could learn from that hunter wearing a tinge of pink on the collar or cap.
The Texas firecracker
The first female turkey hunter I ever ran across was on a writer’s hunt outside of San Antonio more than 30 years ago. She was a budding writer, too and I wish I could recall her name.
I refer to her now as “Sue.” She was some kind of firecracker as a hunter.
That spring turkey hunt in the Lone Star State was blazing hot. We hunted out of enclosed ground blinds, which did not help the heat factor one bit.
Most of us men hunters would be back in camp by 10 a.m. looking for another bottle of cold water. But not Sue — no sir’ee, she stayed until she got her bird.
When she came back to camp one noon lugging her 20-pound Rio Grande gobbler, she was soaked in sweat from head to toe.
She detailed the story, and our interest piqued when she revealed that she got so hot in that ground blind that she shed her top, going naked from the waist up. I wonder to this day if that was a first-ever.
She chuckled out loud when she confessed that when she finally made the shot on the gobbler she rushed out of the blind to recover it, never giving a second thought to her lack of attire.
She said she was glad there was no guide along on the hunt.
What Sue possessed as a turkey hunter was staying power. She outlasted us all in the Texas heat, but she got her bird long before we did. She kept working that gobbler for hours, and it finally caved in.
That bird must have finally decided that “hen” must be a good one to keep yelping that long. She was.
The Magnolia delight
Laurel’s Angelia Rustin is one fine hunter. She has to her credits many white-tailed bucks, some by bow and arrow, as well as western big game in the same manner.
And a number of long-bearded Magnolia State wild turkeys have fallen to the shotgun trigger squeeze of this hunter.
This gal learned most of it all by self-taught trials and errors. If a textbook would ever be written by turkey hunting authority Jim Casada on women turkey hunters, Angelia could certainly be the subject of several chapters.
What she knows we all can learn.
“Women make great turkey hunters because they have the patience to sit and they love taking on the challenge of enticing the gobbler to come in close,” Rustin said. “We know it goes against his natural born instinct for the male to go to the female and to know just what to say to bring him in to her instead of her going to him.
“I guess that would be the confidence we have to get him to do what we want.”
But it goes beyond that, this hunter said.
“We are better strategists about the tactics and planning out how to lure the gobbler in,” Rustin said. “We are more safety oriented, practice our calling to perfection and knowing the pattern of our shotgun and how to hit the target at various distances in the woods. We concentrate on just what call to use and when the appropriate time is to use what call.
“Furthermore, we can sit patiently and just act like a hen feeding and not paying attention to the tom. We don’t call excessively, either. Also, we know how to dress for comfort to stay all day, giving all the time it takes to lure the gobbler in. We just wait him out.”
Patience is the big key, however.
“One thing we lady turkey hunters have learned is that the gobbler may not initially come in to the calling right away,” Rustin said. “But we do know that at some point he will come back to that hen when he leaves all the others behind. Patience in this regard always prevails.”
Rustin said learning turkey habits also pays off.
“We also study the daily routines of the turkey flocks, knowing their prime activity locations, popular travel routes, where they roost, feed, dust and chase the hens,” she explained. “We love to catalog the entire realm of the wild turkey, knowing the birds and defeating them.”
I mean, what else is there to say about the virtues of a turkey hunter that regularly practices all the best practices and succeeds at it. Angelia Rustin is indeed an accomplished hunter, and turkey hunting may well be her best game.