Never too old to try something new

At age 69, Mary Jane Calvey of Oklahoma City decided to go turkey hunting for the first time.
By Mary Jane Calvey, For The Oklahoman Published: May 10, 2014
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Editor’s Note: Mary Jane Calvey of Oklahoma City went turkey hunting for the first time this spring. She is 69.

It seemed like a good idea in February when I bid on a turkey hunt at the Leadership Oklahoma auction.

It was something I always wanted to try. The Woodward Industrial Foundation put together a whole package: hotel room, gas card, dinner with the local hosts and an early morning turkey hunt on April 26.

They would take care of everything. All I needed to do was learn how to shoot. I hadn’t fired a shotgun in 50 years.

I borrowed a junior pump-action shotgun from one of my grandson’s friends and made an appointment for a shooting lesson at the H&H Shooting Sports Complex.

I bounced back a foot after my first shot at the paper turkey target. “Just hold the gun closer in between your shoulder and chest and lean forward,” my instructor said.

I hit the target, high and to the left. “Just aim a little below and to the right,” he said.

I hit the target bracket and sent one of the clips flying. “Try again and really hold the gun in close,” was his next piece of advice.

My next shot was only a little closer. “Let me see if I can find a 20 gauge semi-automatic for you to try,” he said.

He left and returned with a longer but lighter 20 gauge semi-automatic the store had for sale. This Benelli fit me much better and I hit the target several times.

By now I was really sore and decided to quit, but returned a few days later for a second lesson. This time the target included a picture of a turkey taped over it and tutoring on where to shoot the bird.

My shotgun instructor explained that you don’t aim at the body of the bird because you then would be eating lead and your shot might only wound the bird.

After several rounds, my shots were true and we were high-fiving. I was as ready as a 69-year-old novice could be for her first turkey hunt.

The hunt

The night breezes were still blowing when we left the pickup that morning near an oil lease and began walking to our nest, a mix of cedar trees and branches on the crest of a small canyon near Mooreland.

My guide, Ty Hensley, led the way and carried my new shotgun as we silently maneuvered in the dark over uneven ground. That was a good thing because as we stepped over some branches my boot caught on some barbed wired. I fell to my knees and stayed there until they could untangle the unseen hazard.

The morning was still dark as we prepared our blind for the turkey migration. Ty explained that a flock of turkeys were roosting in trees near the bottom of the draw.

I sat and listened and heard some night birds calling, then a train whistle in the distance followed by the moo of a cow somewhere nearby.

We were straining for the sounds of turkeys when a “gobble-gobble” sounded quite near. Ty made sure my 20 gauge was loaded and gestured to me where the turkeys usually scurried out of the gully and into open ground where they foraged most mornings.