This Sunday marked the conclusion of another successful Learn to Hunt event. The third annual hunt was sponsored by the River Valley Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation in co-operation with the WI Department of Natural Resources. The LTH matches first time hunters with seasoned mentors for a one-on-one hunting experience.
The program began on April 1st at the Rio Conservation Club. A four-hour mandatory classroom portion covering hunter safety, turkey biology, DNR rules and regulations, and turkey hunting strategies was conducted. Afterwards, there were calling demonstrations, laser indoor shooting, and shotgun sighting on the range.
April 8th the hunters headed out at dawn in hopes of bagging their bird. A luncheon was held with the help of Johnson’s Sausage following the hunt, and the Columbia County Sporting Alliance was also on hand to register birds and lend a hand where needed.
David Holmes and Cory Catlin Co-chaired the event that saw 28 participants head into the woods and return with 12 turkeys. David said, “That’s a pretty good percentage.” Typically each spring for every 100 hunters that enter the woods only about 22 kill birds. Holmes stated, “Our rate was nearly double that at about 43%.” Cory explained, “Much of the credit goes to the knowledge that our mentors bring with them.” He went on to say, “Many of these people have been hunting turkeys for over ten years. The more experience the better your chances are of taking a bird.”
Matt Blum of Baraboo took two birds on Sunday, but only got to register one. Upon taking a nice tom earlier in the day, Matt decided to join his brother Josh on his hunt. During the hunt, Matt, as so many hunters do on a warm spring day in the woods, closed his eyes only to begin dreaming of another hunt. “The birds were strutting and drumming right in front of me,” recalls Matt. “Just as I pulled up my gun, my brother shot his bird. That’s what I call a realistic dream.” That’s what we call a memorable hunt.