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Home / Helen Butt / A Very Special 2017 Spring Turkey Season

A Very Special 2017 Spring Turkey Season

June 19, 2017
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Getting to go to the National Wild Turkey Federation Convention has so many benefits.   This year, I was blessed to be a part of the Country Girls Outdoors Booth with the McCrea family.  We had a wonderful time meeting and greeting so many friends, old and new!  I got to go with Miss Kylie to the ladies auction in hopes we would walk away with the New Mexico Gould’s Turkey hunt, but unfortunately, we were outbid.  All was not lost however, a newfound friendship with a very special young lady, Megan Vess and her family was waiting for us when we returned to the CGO booth downstairs.  Little did I know, someone had a plan for our paths to cross with the beautiful Vess family.

The busy NWTF weekend flew by and a friendship and a mission launched to get Miss Megan who had recently been diagnosed with Stage IV glioblastoma , her single season turkey Grand Slam.  For those of you that don’t know, the single season turkey Grand Slam is when you are able to tag out on all four of the major subspecies of wild turkey here in the United States in one season. The turkey species are: Eastern, Merriam’s, Rio Grande, and the Osceola which can only be taken in the state of Florida.

That is where I was lucky enough to help out! In conversation with Eric McCrea about getting a hunt in Florida for Megan and Kylie, I had recently spent time at SHOT show with my dear friend Michelle Geskey Jones, owner of Altair Training Solutions, Inc.,  who had invited me to go and hunt with her in Florida sometime. One phone call and our plans were about to become reality.

The Vess family, the McCrea family and myself were all welcomed with open arms by Michelle and her husband Brian. They not only let us utilize their property for hunting and fishing, but more than that, they put all 13 of us up at their phenomenal facility at no charge just to help out with our mission!!

As tough luck would have it, the turkeys around the property had moved on, but Michelle and her gator guide, Mark had a great back-up plan that included getting Megan on a neighboring property where there were no shortage of Osceola’s!! The first morning Megan went out, she was successful in tagging her first Osceola!  Kylie didn’t get her shot during this hunt, but was fortunate enough to go back to Florida the very next week and also was able to get hers.

The season was in full swing for both girls.  I almost got a chance to see them get their Texas Rio’s but an unfortunate accident and injury kept me from travels just hours before leaving to Texas.  Megan and Kylie were both successful at the end of their Texas Rio hunt, and as of May 2017, were able to complete a single-season Grand Slam together with the gracious help of so many caring individuals.

I am blessed I got to be a part of this and I love my friendships with the McCrea’s and The Vess family that came from it!  Megan is such an amazing young lady.  Her strength and determination inspires me daily and the same goes for Kylie, she too is something special and I love them both for letting me share their unique journey.  I am excited to say that Kylie and her Mom Tori will both be joining me this August for our NWTF Women in the Outdoors event and I can’t wait to see them both!!

My Spring turkey hunting in New Mexico started in April and opening day, my friend, hunting partner and fellow Outdoor Insiders contributor,  Chelsie Dugan and I headed to the Mimbres near Silver City, New Mexico with our State Chapter President of the NWTF, Don Fell.  We got to hear the gobbles and see a hen and a jake but when we heard shots fire that morning, some other hunters ended up being the lucky ones that weekend.   A week later, Chelsie and I along with our friend and new hunter, Melissa were heading to the Lincoln National Forest for 3 days of trying our luck at some New Mexico Merriam’s turkeys.  A tough hunt to say the least.  It was just like elk hunting, only for turkey.  Our terrain here in New Mexico doesn’t consist of sitting in blind overlooking a green meadow or food plot and calling until a turkey comes to a decoy.  Instead, we hike in rough, steep mountain terrain, mind you, we are at  8,000 feet in elevation, all  in hopes to land some possible roosting sights the night before. We send out a locator call (usually a crow call) and wait to hear back.  If we get a response, the next morning, that is were we end up. The first 2 days were tough and on our final morning, we hiked up our last steep hill and I was able to call in my first gobbler to what would have been an opportunity for Chelsie had he came closer than 70 yards but he just would not come closer for a shot.

We tried a couple more times, but just could not seal the deal. Not for lack of trying because trust me, we tried!!  I am proud of Melissa, this was not the first hunt experience I imagined for her, but at least now she knows what we as hunters go through in order to try for the lucky shot and that one opportunity to tag a bird or really any other animal we are hunting here in New Mexico. Chelsie was definitely the lucky shed hunter however,  scoring a nice elk shed and an old mule deer shed while we were out turkey hunting.  Even though none of us were able to take a turkey, we had a wonderful hunt.  The laughs and the memories will last a lifetime.  I can’t wait to hunt with them again!

 

 

 

 

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About Helen

Helen Butt

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My Bio

My name is Helen Butt. I am from New Mexico. I live for my life in the great outdoors. I absolutely love to hunt. There’s something about being able to harvest an animal and feed your family that is just amazing. When I'm not hunting, I travel to compete in various 3D archery bowshoots. I am currently the NWTF Women in the Outdoors Coordinator for the State of New Mexico as well as our local NWTF Chapter President. I strongly believe wildlife conservation is vital, individual hunters make such a big contribution towards ensuring the future of many species of wildlife and habitat for the future.  My family and I are all members of the NWTF, the NRA the RMEF  and are active in mentoring our local Youth 4-H  and YHEC shooting sports competitions. It is important that our youth become involved and participate in hunting and that hunting mentors teach them what fair chase and ethical conduct and conservation is all about. I have also created an all female hunting/archery group called “Gals at Full Draw Outdoors". Empowering women and encouraging them to hunt and enjoy life in the great outdoors is my mission!