Take Me Hunting Program: Introducing New Hunters to Turkey Hunting
When I first started taking people to hunting into the field, I had no idea it would turn into a high-demand outreach program. Take Me Hunting; a one-on-one mentored hunting experience, first launched in 2017, when women repeatedly asked me to take them out so that they could learn to hunt in a non-intimidating environment. These experiences are much like the Range Days that I also organize, which are designed to give women the opportunity to try out different types of firearms.
The Take Me Hunting outreach program is much more than just a few hours in the wild. Participants learn everything that the immediate location has to offer, such as animal tracking, moose calling, tree identification, loading and safely carrying firearms, being mindful of those around you, situations commonly encountered in the bush, and more.
Spring Turkey Hunt
The outdoors can be unpredictable. A recent turkey hunt turned out to be just that. I decided to throw the hunt in between two Range Days for two of my ambassadors who had not yet had a chance to get out. Angela, who had NEVER gone hunting a day in her life, and Rae, who had accompanied Take Me Hunting – Grouse a few times, were both eager to get into the field and soak up all of the information they could regarding the spring turkey hunt.
It turns out, being introduced to turkey hunting at 2 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon on the way back from the range was not what any one of us had in mind. As we were heading back, Rae riding shotgun in my Sierra and Angela riding shotgun with her partner Gavin in his Camaro, we twisted down the back roads so that I could swing up on a field and check it out. Keep in mind that we were in our street/range day clothes, and the only one remotely dressed for the occasion was Gavin in his tactical camo.
I parked the truck off to the side of the road and slowly climbed the incline of a hill to a surprise in the field. There was a Tom in full strut and not alone. GREAT! I ran back down the hill to the truck. Of course, this was THE ONLY time that I happened to not have any firearms with me, nor any calls. I ran to Angela and asked if she had a gun, to which, thankfully, she replied, “YES!” We made do without the proper attire and grabbed her shotgun, ammo, and Gavin’s turkey calls.
We headed back up the hill, this time more slowly and quietly. I had the camera ready to capture every second on film in what turned out to be an incredible 30 minutes. This Tom was all over Gavin’s calls and coming right for us, even though hens surrounded him. It was nerve-racking and, at the same time, exciting to see Angela’s reactions to what was transpiring.
As the Tom closed the distance, the excitement rising, Angela squeezed off a shot! It went high, and the birds flushed in a flurry of wings and noise! If she had been a bit more patient, the Tom would probably have come right to us, but it was a lesson learned.
On Sunday morning before Range Day, we decided to get up early and sit in the field for the bow-only hunt (no guns on Sunday in my area). The girls did a great job sitting as perfectly still as possible for two hours while watching the world wake up. I took advantage of the following few hours to show them different turkey signs and behaviours.
Turkey hunting with three people can be quite challenging, particularly when they are new to hunting. Over the course of two days, we managed to spot quite a few birds, but got busted three times when making our way to our spots and when changing positions. The adventure was certainly one for the books, and the fact that we kicked it off in our street clothes was something to remember.
I was able to harvest my turkey on opening day within the first 15 minutes of shooting light while out with my good friend Matt Bouwmeester during the production of episode 2 (he also harvested a bird that week). To me, the turkey hunt serves as a memorial to my uncle; we had often planned to go hunting together, but conflicting schedules always prevented us from doing so. Now, I take that day for myself, and I never refuse to take someone hunting.
To see more of the hunt with Rae and Angela, tune in to Sportsman Channel for this season of That Hunting Girl.
Amanda Lynn Mayhew has been in the media for over 25 years in a diverse set of genres including fitness, wellbeing, hunting, firearms and mentoring, covering radio broadcast, journalism, social media and most recently a national television series. She founded and organizes Women’s Hunting Association and Range Day events to inspire, educate and empower those who have no where to start to get outdoors. Combining her love for creativity in all things media, her drive has a purpose to inspire and empower individuals to embrace their hunting heritage roots and life.