Today, David Brugh of Christiansburg and I took his 11-year-old daughter Elaina spring gobbler hunting in Franklin County, Virginia. If you have never taken a young person turkey hunting, doing so is a thing of joy - actually killing a turkey becomes secondary. Elaina giggled when David and I showed her turkey droppings, laughed when I imitated the sounds of an ovenbird, and positively hooted when I blamed our failure to even hear a gobbler on her father's lack of calling skills.
When after a few hours it became apparent that our chances for calling in and killing a tom were extremely low, we turned to bird watching. Elaina was fascinated when I explained to her how small a nest of a blue-gray gnatcatcher is (see picture below), that chuck-wills-widows out compete their close relatives, the whip-poor-wills, because the former is a half inch larger, and that ovenbirds say "teach, teach, teach," when they sing.
Late in the morning, our trio spotted two turkeys feeding along a stand that we had vacated earlier in the day. Always the good sport, Elaina merely smiled when her dad and I apologized for perhaps leaving the locale too soon, thus possibly ruining her chance at killing her first gobbler. This youngster has the potential to become a tremendous outdoors woman. The three of us hope to go squirrel hunting this spring when the Virginia season opens.