New York's turkey hunting season starts May 1st, but across the state, kids ages 12 to 15 had special permission to jump the gun more than a week early. Our Andrew Sorensen followed one ambitious teen in his attempt to bag a wild turkey.
ORISKANY FALLS, N.Y. -- Officers showing up at your door at four in morning asking for your teenager would normally be a bad thing. But this weekend Environmental Control Officers like Ricardo Grisolini were taking teens turkey hunting at the Cassety Hollow Rod and Gun Club in Oriskany Falls.
“The Oneida County Sportsmen's Federation and local mentors take kids between the ages of 12 and 15, who don't have parents who either partake in outdoor activities or hunt at all,” Grisolini explained.
Grisolini's shadow for the day is David Mondrick, an ambitious young hunter who is eager to learn new skills.
“I'm hunting with a bow so they have to get in closer than with a gun and it's hard to draw back when turkey are everywhere,” Mondrick said.
They may not look like the fittest birds, but turkeys can actually fly to the tops of some very tall trees to roost for the night. They come down in the early morning hours just before sunrise.
After hours of waiting under a promising tree and calling for the birds, David got his shot, but he didn't kill it.
The turkey ran and the group followed, tracking it into the woods. Call it a teachable moment.
“One of the things that our kids today don't know anything about is our outdoors. All they know is what's on the TV and what people tell them the outdoors looks like,” Oneida County Sportsmen's Federation official Scott Faulkner said.
Scott Faulkner helped co-found youth weekend at Cassety Hollow to show kids why the great outdoors are great at all.
“Peace and quiet, I go out there, I will see things that you will never see,” he said.
After two hours of a wild turkey chase, some of Ricardo and Scott's lessons may have caught on.
When asked why he likes turkey hunting, Mondrick replied, “It's just being in the outdoors away from people.”
If they are as successful as with this outing, Ricardo and Scott's youth lessons during goose hunting season in the fall will definitely be more than a wild goose chase.
Regular turkey hunting season starts a week from Tuesday and lasts until the end of May.
If you do decide to hunt, the state asks that you make sure your licenses and permits are up to date.