By Gary Miller
Even though a friend took me on my first turkey hunt, my first kill came while hunting alone. That morning I remember that my tools of the trade amounted to a Lynch box call and a ten-gauge H and R shotgun. No slate calls and definitely no mouth calls. I can also remember moving from place to place on this farm without having much confidence. Late in the morning I made my way to an area that was known to hold deer. I crossed a hay field and crawled under a barbed wire fence before giving that box call another go. As soon as I slid the lid of that call across the box, I heard a turkey to my left. I didn’t even recognize at the time that it was a jake. But it really didn’t matter to me. My heart started beating like I was drawing my bow back on a deer, but this was even stronger because of its newness. The turkey came running and soon was in front of me. It couldn’t see me, however, because of a log that was lying parallel to the ground. I could see its legs as it walked but I wasn’t able to shoot until it cleared the log. In a few seconds it was over.
I’m so grateful that someone took me on my first turkey hunt. I watched, listened, and soaked in as much information as I could. And even though the excitement ran high, I knew I had to temper it in order to learn. My guide would not always be with me. As in most areas of our life, there comes a time when we must step out from the security of the teacher and into the risky business of going alone. It can be a time of trial and error, but it is nevertheless necessary if we are going to stretch ourselves into new and exciting arenas. I think about my daughter. When she was a young teenager, she would get a cookbook and try to recreate the delicacy on the page. If she didn’t know what a particular ingredient was, or if we didn’t have it, she would substitute it with something of her choosing. Many times, maybe even most of the time, the results were not that good. But what I was most proud of was the fact that she was not satisfied to set on the sideline until someone helped her. She decided she would try it on her own.
Friends, some of you have had the best teacher, but now it’s time to go out alone. If you keep letting the fear of failure stop you, you’ll never get the opportunity to see if failure itself stands a chance against you.
Gary Miller can be reached via email at email@example.com