Wisconsin Youth Turkey Hunt 2023 

Wisconsin Youth Turkey Hunt 2023 


We kicked off this year’s hunt by having all the kiddos come out to help set up blinds and take a few shots with the shotguns the week before the hunt.  It as a great way for some new mentors and mentees to get meet the crew and it also gave the kiddos some ownership of the hunt.  We are so thankful to Jim Thill and his family for letting us come up and hunt some birds 

Our youth hunt this year included the hunting pairs of Draven/Jeffrey, Chad/Gary, Darren/Reese, Austin/Caden and Bobby/David on the  youth weekend.  We are also set to get Kaylie and Raelyn out in May to get their chance at a big ole turkey too.  The following article was written up by one of our new mentors Draven from the perspective of him and his mentee Jeffrey, both first time turkey hunters, enjoy! 




Jeffrey’s First Turkey

By Draven Barth 

Phillipians 4:13- “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” 

When I first learned of the Turkey hunt I was nervous, Jeffrey was also very nervous, neither of us had gone Turkey hunting before and all we both knew was that we would be in a blind with a man named Ray.  Jeffrey was a little discouraged having not passed his Hunters Safety Course a few weeks before during the field day event, but little did he know that overcoming challenges was going to be a major part of the weekend!  


Upon arrival he was shy, I wouldnt be honest if I didnt say I felt the same, wdidnt know what to expect and there was this sense of nervousness being in a new area with new people on a new adventure.  I believe Caden having his birthday was a lynch pin that opened everyone up and relaxed the nervousness.  It really pulled everyone together as we sang and celebrated with a delicious cake and plenty of thoughtful prayers. 


Fast forward to Saturday morning, we are up and heading out around 4:30.  It was still dark and I was extremely rusty on what I needed to bring and do.  In that rush I initially forgot the gun, chairs, bags, and a few other things.  I was beginning to question why I came and if I made the right decision even coming on this trip. 


After backtracking to grab some of the forgotten items and finally catching back up we made it to the farm.  Upon arrival I felt lost, I’m very thankful for Chad and Ray in guiding myself and Jeffrey through everything.  After loading everything up, saying our prayers for a safe and successful hunt, we were in the UTV and off we went.  Little did we know how incredible of an adventure we would ultimately go on. 


Upon arrival at the blind I did  realize I had left the extra chairs in my car and we thought we were going to have to sit on the ground in a blind for the next several hours which would have made for a long morning.  However, God blessed us with a little wood shack that had 2 folding chairs and a 5 gallon bucket that we used for seating. 


Around 2 hours into our sit, having amazing conversations as time was passing, we started hearing a bunch of gobbling in the distance.  Many calls and gobbles later we had one in our sight!  A beautiful tom was coming up from behind us with 2 hens following him.  He had a bright blue head, big red wattle, and overall he was the perfect first bird for Jeffrey.  We resituated to try and get a good shot from the back but ultimately had no luck.  To our surprise, he walked right next to the blind on his way to show our decoy who was boss.   


After getting situated again we got Jeffrey in line to have the perfect shot, no more than 10 yards from the blind.  We heard every other sound but the one we were most excited for.  The bang of a firing pin and the dropping of the bird….. Jeffrey had frozen.  He was so excited and nervous that he didnt even remove the safety or put his finger in the trigger guard. 


The turkey finally realized the situation and ran off, leaving everyone feeling defeated.  Jeffrey was disappointed in himself even though it is a very common occurrence, but he was also fired up and ready for the second opportunity.  Not more than 45 minutes later we did hear a gunshot and learned that Chad and Gary got quite the bird!  They had spotted some hens coming in and Chad said a quick prayer for toms to follow, minutes later and One-shot Gary had dropped a nice 25# tom with a 10” beard and 1.5 in spurs!  You may remember Gary and Chad from an article about Gary’s first deer a few months back.  After learning of Gary’s success it made Jeffrey want a 2nd chance that much more.  Check out the YouTube of Gary’s Turkey here!  


The rest of our Saturday was rainy and windy and unfortunately no one else got another opportunity but we did see many toms on our way back to the farm so we knew they were out there.  Darren and Reese told us all about their run in with a hungry coyote and a bunch of hens though, so cool to have the opportunity to sit in God’s creation and watch the animals. 


By Saturday night after our second sitits 30 degrees, raining with 20 mph wind, and many are considering not even going out Sunday as the rain wasn’t supposed to stop until around 1 pm that next day.  To top it off there was big winter storm headed right for us, so that second opportunity Jeffrey and everyone wanted wasn’t looking too good. 


Come Sunday morning, Darren made a miraculous recovery from a terrible cough, the rain had subsided, and everyone was READY.  What once was probably not going to happen was now a definite and everyone had high spirits and high hopes! 


Sunday morning we moved spots, our first spot was high up on a hill and the wind was fierce so we knew that wasn’t the best spot to be.  We decided to move to where we saw the toms the previous evening in hopes of seeing them again.  We set up the blind and situated the decoys and were ready by 4:45.  Around an hour later we heard a few gobbles.  They were close, we called and waited and called some more.  Eventually after about another 45 minutes we saw him.  It’s 6:50 a.m, we are underneath a big pine and we see another chance at a tom.  He just walked out of the brush line and was out in the open working his way to our decoy.  Ray instructed Jeffrey where to prop his gun so when the turkey crossed it would be the perfect shot. 


The turkey slowly but surely worked his way towards us, the turkey was in range now, and Jeffrey had the bead.  Still no shot, the buck fever was back and Jeffrey was having a surge of emotions.  “Shoot, shoot, Jeffrey shoot”.  These words in similar fashion were whispered with encouragement by Ray and myself.  The tom at this point was showing our decoy who is the boss and we knew the time would come when he would wise up and run off. 


While Jeffrey was still frozen, I helped readjust his shot so he had a great angle again and made sure the safety was off.  Again, “shoot……shoot……Jeff shoot” whispered Ray and thats when it happened.  *BANG!*  We see the bird begin to flop and we knew it was a clean shot.  Jeffrey was overcome with many emotions and Ray and I were very proud of him for overcoming that frozen state to make a beautiful shot! 


As we were loading up the turkey Jeffrey was welling up and said a prayer for the turkey.  He thanked the turkey for serving his purpose and thanked God for the 2nd chance to get him.  Jeffrey then overcame another fear and he hoisted up the big ole tom, he fought through many emotions to finally do itbut he overcame and conquered his fears again. 


The growth of everyone during that weekend has had a lasting impact on those involved and it was through the power of fellowship, love, understanding, and by the grace of God that we even had the chance to experience that magical moment.  Check out the video of Jeffrey’s Turkey here. 

Kicking Bear is so very thankful for another great year of camps, hunts and mentorship, thank you Jesus!!

Kicking Bear Ministry has been taking youth off the streets and changing their lives for over 20 years God has allowed us to keep His camps and outings completely free-of-charge to all participants due to the great partners He has brought to the ministry. Under the direction of God Kicking Bear has changed the lives of thousands of kiddos and their families!  Thank you for your prayers, partnership and support.

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