Country Living - Turkey shoot
Remember when we played “bang bang”? We shot them down, “bang bang” they hit the ground, “bang bang” that big loud sound, “bang bang” we shot those turkeys down. Well, not quite the lovelorn sentiments from that old Nancy Sinatra song, but a great analogy for my first foray into guns and shooting. I had tried for some time to get a wild turkey shoot across the line when, thankfully, my colleague and this publication's roving journalist “Mr Jonathan” pinned down a Sunday for us with some expert type friends of his. On location, out of a van filled with the ultimate testosterone boys' toys, hopped two muscle-bound men that looked like they meant business. For the purpose of anonymity, I will refer to them as Mr A and Mr B. With loaded guns in hand, we were given a strict safety and operational briefing before heading off on our hunt. We could see a big mob of turkeys down the gully and headed briskly in that direction.
“My perfect fantasy of protection amour was playing out in front of me.”
I was feeling incredibly inept and vulnerable with a pump action shotgun braced across my chest. These men looked wonderfully natural; my perfect fantasy of protection amour was playing out in front of me. Advancing towards the crest of a hill, Mr A motioned to move slowly towards the turkeys. I just figured it was a case of take aim and fire once they were in close sight. Gulp! My chest was an exploding beatbox.
Bang! Bang! Bang! The air was ablaze with gunfire. These men had started their mission. I glanced down the barrel, unlatched the safety button, squinted and tensed then, Ka Boom! The recoil of that gun took my breath away and knocked me back a step. It was like being punched in the shoulder, but I had no time to think. These men were still firing when I remembered I had to slide the body of the gun back and keep shooting. I slid it back and it jammed. The men were reloading. I felt woefully useless and could only stand there like a silly damsel in distress waiting for help.
Mr A fixed my gun and by this stage the turkeys had bolted. In a scene reminiscent of the sniper movies I watched on Netflix the night before, Mr A instructed myself and Mr B to take the flank while Jonathan and Mr A moved forward. The turkeys took flight – topography and speed is their armour. The men chose an attack route and with that heavy gun I hauled my hideously unfit butt up and down hills, over fences and through scrub – quietly dying and breathless until we cornered them again near a swamp. Bang! Bang! These boys were on fire. I shot again, this time heeding advice and keeping the gun firmly tucked in my shoulder.