Fort Riley's FROG Sponsored Youth Hunt a Huge Success

Story and Photo by: (Retired First Sergeant) David McNeal

Twelve year old Trieste Sessions and eleven year old Sadie Simpson, best friends wanted to go turkey hunting; the idea that hunting was strictly a guy thing never crossed their minds. It didn't take much persuading to get their fathers both passionate hunters to sign them up for this year's annual Fort Riley Outdoorsman Group's Fort Riley Outdoorsmen Group Spring Youth Turkey Hunt.

Left to right Cpt. Taylor Simpson and daughter Sadie (age 11) and Maj. Dan Sessions and his daughter Trieste (age 12)

Soon afterwards Major Dan Sessions (Trieste's dad) made arrangements with me through an e-mail and I enlisted another F.R.O.G. member, Gordon Allen to assist in guiding the girls on their first hunt. Monday evening, April the 9th at 4:00 p.m. was set and the hunt was on.

That Monday shortly after the appointed time our little party of six met and a plan was agreed upon. We would hunt the same wooded area dubbed by me as Turkey Alley because over the years eleven turkeys had been harvested there. Gordon would set up with Captain Taylor Simpson and daughter Sadie while Dan, Trieste, and I would move about a mile further down and set up.

Hunting Buddies forever Sadie and Trieste with their big Eastern Gobblers

No sooner had we separated than we spotted a gobbler working a plowed field; unfortunately he spotted us too and flushed down the road. Arriving at our spot around 5:15 p.m. we quickly got our blinds in place and decoys out. I waited for the forest to get quiet again and after ten minutes I made my first yelp. It wasn't long before the woods were ringing with the sounds of excited gobblers but one in particular was headed in our direction.

Trieste shows off the 1 and 3/8 inch hooks on her bird.

The big bird made his entrance to Trieste's left where it stood for a good five to six minutes before stepping out where she could get a sure aim and just like her father had coached her with a single shot at thirty-five yards she harvested her first long beard, a twenty-two and half pound Eastern with a ten inch beard and one and three eights inch spurs. It was a very proud and bonding moment for both father and daughter; the time 6:10 p.m..

Proud father and coach and his daughter show off her FIRST spring Turkey

A mile back down the road the scene though a little differently was being repeated. Gordon said, "I have never worked so hard to get a bird to come in my life." It seems he had to move almost a hundred yards behind where they had set up in order to get the big Tom to follow him in but follow him it did and when it made it's appearance to Sadie's right just like her best friend at twenty-eight yards and a single shot; coached by her father, she harvested her nineteen pound Eastern with a double beard ten and four inches and seven eights inch spurs.

After tagging their birds, getting pictures taken and hugs from two very proud dads, along with congratulations from their guides, these two exceptional young ladies with beaming smiles have only one message for you guys, "Get over it boys, girls rule!" Ok maybe that's my message but no matter how you look at it Turkey Alley gave up birds number twelve and thirteen to two very young female hunters and a memorable time was had by all who participated.