I'm often asked, “Are coyotes and mountain lions having a negative impact on the turkeys in Utah?” I’m sure the coyotes take a few of our turkeys, because we have a strong coyote population. We've also found places where bobcats and mountain lions have gotten into the trees and killed some of the turkeys. However, we realize those critters have to eat too, and they take their fair share of turkeys.
My job with the NWTF here in Utah is to help promote turkey hunting with the youth, the women and all first-time turkey hunters, as well as our Wheelin' Sportsmen program. I promote Jake events. I've worked with the youth for the past 20 years as the Jake coordinator, but I’ve had a hard time getting women involved. However, I had a friend who got a shotgun, and she said that she wanted to go turkey hunting. So, I took her turkey hunting last year.
Some of our NWTF members took eight women out to a pheasant ranch and taught them how to shoot shotguns and trap. Then we took them out in the field and taught them how to shoot pheasants. I think everyone had a lot of fun, including the instructors, and I have two other ladies now who want to go turkey hunting with me. Figuring out how to get other women involved has been a little difficult for me, but I'm working at it. My wife, my daughter and my daughter-in-law all hunt turkeys.
Once I got bit by the turkey bug, I wanted to hunt for more than one turkey, and I decided the best way to do that was to take members of my family and youngsters in the Jake program turkey hunting. Now, I have the opportunity to take some of the ladies. So, instead of only being able to hunt Utah and take one turkey in 1-2 days, I usually hunt about 15 days during the season here. I retired a couple of years ago as a heavy duty mechanic. Today I work at Barnes Bullets part-time. I have plenty of time to go turkey hunting.
I’ve had a lot of great turkey hunts. One of my most-memorable hunts was hunting the first turkey season my county (Juab) ever had. On that hunt, I took a friend who had worked with me in scouting for 20 years. He wanted to try and take a turkey with his muzzleloader. That morning we had a bird fly right off the roost and come right to us. The rain was coming down that morning, and the conditions were miserable. When he squeezed the trigger on that ole muzzleloader, he was probably the first hunter in our county to take a gobbler. Of course, since I was able to call the turkey, I was as excited, if not more excited, and happy for him than if I had shot the turkey myself.