By 03/25/2014 Read More →

Taking Time To Give Thanks

Twenty years ago, Gail Olinick and I met at work. atlanticcityWe became friends and the other employees referred to us as “the laughers” because we were always talking and laughing. Over the years we have done a lot of things together. We went on trips to Atlantic City, Washington D.C., Hersheypark, and the Bloomsburg Fair. We shopped for antiques, rode roller coasters, drank White Russians, and visited each other’s families. We talked, laughed, cried, argued, and made up. We changed jobs, moved into different homes, and began new chapters in our lives.  We stayed in touch. We were blessed when our current spouses became friends. The four of us went camping and fishing together. We went on vacations and went sightseeing together. We did a lot of things together… but we never hunted together.

Pennsylvania introduced the Mentored Youth Hunting Program in 2006. My grandfather built a short stocked 30-06 rifle that was passed down to me when I started hunting. To make a long story short, I passed my rifle down to my nephews and I stopped hunting.  I went to camp, cooked for hungry hunters, and enjoyed story telling time but I did not purchase a license for hunting.

Meanwhile… Gail was still hunting! Every time we would get together she would tell me the stories of her new adventures.gail She started shooting archery which became her favorite thing to do. She killed several white-tailed buck and doe, a wild pig, a wild boar, and a ram on hunting trips with her husband. She tried to talk me into getting back to hunting but I was not interested. Gail went on her first hunt with Babes, Bullets, and Broadheads in May of 2012. Babes, Bullets, and Broadheads is an organization of women who encourage women and children to enjoy the outdoors. They organize trips for women to go hunting and learn about outdoor life.  You can find information on "BBB" hunts at www.babesbulletsbroadheads.com. Gail did not shoot a turkey or coyote on her first hunt, but she had a blast. The stories she shared with me from the hunt were filled with new friends, great adventures, and good times. She loved it so much that she signed up for a second hunt in September of 2012 and this time it would be for alligators! She bagged an alligator that measured ten feet two inches long! I was so excited and proud of her! BUT… I was still not ready to go hunting.

Babes, Bullets, and Broadheads held a contest last fall and the prize was a duck hunt with T.J. Petty’s Guide Service and a set of rain gear from Frogg Toggs. Gail told me that she was attending the hunt and that if I would enter the contest and win, she would drive me to Tennessee for the duck hunt. The hunt was the weekend before my birthday. To make a long story short, I entered the contest and won!

I was very excited about going duck hunting in January.  I decided to retrieve my rifle from my nephews and went white-tailed deer hunting for the first time since 2005. Our nine year old grandson went hunting with us on the first day and it was a great time.  I quickly remembered how good it felt to get out in the woods.  Listening to the sounds of nature, seeing the sun rise over the trees, and spending quality time with family felt so good.  Even though we did not shoot any deer, going hunting again was like finding an old friend, it wrapped around me and warmed my heart.107

Gail and I traveled to the duck hunt in January of 2013 and I loved every minute of it. After twenty years of friendship, we finally went hunting together! I could write a small book about the duck hunt, but I will save those stories for another day. Today is about giving thanks to my friend, Gail, for getting me to pick up my gun again. Thank you Gail for getting my blood pumping and getting this total turkey turmoil started!

Make new friends, but keep the old… One is silver and the other gold…

Remember, you are never too old to learn something new! Stay tuned for more Total Turkey Turmoil in the near future…

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Amy Sward

About the Author:

Hello, my name is Amy and I have lived in Central Pennsylvania all of my life. I was born into a family of outdoorsmen, hunting and fishing have always been part of my life. My dad started taking me hunting with him when I was a little girl. He also taught me how to fish for trout in local creeks. The first day of deer season and the first day of trout season were like holidays in our household. My grandfather enjoyed trapping and as a teenager I often went along with him to check the traps. Raccoons, red fox, and grey fox were harvested from the traps in the woods and muskrats were harvested from the traps by the Juniata River. I have many fond memories of trapping with my grandfather. I have enjoyed hunting small game and hunting whitetail deer in rifle season over the years. This year I am branching out and trying some new things. I went duck hunting in January and enjoyed it very much. I went spring gobbler hunting in May and loved it! I purchased a crossbow and will be entering the woods for white-tailed deer during archery season for the first time in October. I enjoy sharing my love of the outdoors with my family. Camping and kayaking are popular activities. I love to hunt and fish with my three nephews and my grandson. My two granddaughters enjoy fishing and hopefully they will show interest in hunting in the future. They love to go spotlighting for deer, and hopefully someday they will love to go hunting for them also.
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