Hunting forms family bonds
BY AMANDA WILCZAK
OU News Bureau
Hunting is more than a sport. It is an activity that families pass down from generation to generation.
Michigan ranks third in the country for licensed hunters, with about 750,000 individuals who purchase a license annually.
The arrival of spring brings the start of turkey hunting season. With Michigan home to many hunters, this activity brings families and friends together.
“My dad and grandpa always were great hunters, so as a kid they would always take me out with them in the woods,” said Tyler Dougherty of Attica.
Hunting can leave lasting memories.
“My family has always been a very big hunting family,” said Felicia Bader of North Branch. “So, as I grew up, I was always involved in hunting no matter what the season. I can remember going out hunting with my parents since I was about 5 years old.
“Since that was such a big part of my life growing up, when I got older it just became second nature. Something about the adrenaline of getting your first big kill there is nothing like it.”
For many, hunting turns into a lifetime activity for those introduced to it at a young age.
“My experience with wild turkey hunting started when I was 12 years old,” said Josh Clendenan of Attica. “On my first hunt, the sound of a wild turkey gobbling, the early morning fog rising of the warmer ground, the dampness from the dew soaking threw every layer I had on and the sounds of nature that could never be replicated by any man made device, had me hooked.
“So after that, I hunted turkeys every season I could and it lead me to start a guide service to share my experience with others.”
Even for those not as dedicated to hunting wild turkeys, their experiences lead to interests in other types of hunting.
“I personally have only gone turkey hunting a handful of times but I thought it was fun,” Bader said. “Every season is different for hunting different types of game. Therefore, it keeps it interesting to go out hunting for other types of animals.”
While hunting for turkeys, hunters use specific firearms or a bow and arrow.
“The shotgun is the only firearm used in turkey hunting, although some people choose to use a bow and arrow instead for more of a challenge,” Clendenan said. “When I started, I used a Remington 20-gauge shotgun and through the years moved up to a Remington 870 12-gauge.”
Hunters have their own special tactics to attract turkeys to their hunting area.
“I use some hen turkey decoys to attract the Tom’s, or male turkeys,“ Dougherty said. “I also use a hen strut turkey call to attract the Toms to my hen decoys.”
Other hunters learn special tactics.
“My dad has taught me two tactics: ground hunting and chasing,” said Paige Ekstrom of North Branch. “Ground hunting requires sitting in a pop-up blind and waiting for the turkeys to come to you. Chasing is basically what it sounds like. You go out the night before to find where the turkeys are roosting, and try to catch them coming off the roost the following morning. This method is more exciting.”
Some hunters keep their secrets.
“I have many handed down tricks from generations of hunters in our family, but I’m not allowed to share them,” Clendenan said. “I’ll tell you one of mine I learned, though I shouldn’t: They say to be extremely still and not to move, but through the years I’ve learned that if there’s a turkey near you but won’t come in close enough for a shot, if you actually make some movement he will come right in closer to you.”Tweet
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