RJ’s First Turkey - Florida

March 20, 2010
We arrived down at Hoppy’s; Case had shot his gobbler that morning with Mr. Reed. I know this helped to pump RJ up. We got settled at the camp and met Danny & Gaylan from North Carolina. Danny is really big into collecting turkey calls and has one of the largest collections in the country.

Gaylan is a judge and is funny—his stories are priceless. Both Danny & Gaylan shot their birds. Woody and his girlfriend DD also shot their birds and Bo, well we laughed and joked around and went to bed.

March 21, 2010
Today we got all our gear set up, shot in our bows, shotguns, and crossbow. We decided to get all this done and hunt tomorrow.

March 22, 2010
One of the best days of my life… RJ was pumped. He had his Benelli Nova 20-gauge all ready to go. He had been practicing for a while and his confidence was at an all time high! Hoppy, Vicki, RJ, and I headed in the orange grove. We set up in a large wood pile. RJ, Hoppy, and Vicki were in the new Choice blind and I set up on the outside. As our night vision came clearer, we could see birds roosted about 100 yards away. Next thing you knew, the gobblers started off the morning orchestra and the hens followed.

What a first morning for RJ’s hunt—we couldn’t ask for anything better. It was low light when the gobbler hit the ground and next came birds landing all over and in front of us. What a morning… Slowly, three gobblers made their way to our decoys. They pounded it, jumping all over it, knocking off the head and ripping feathers right out of it. It was awesome and RJ was totally into it. All of a sudden, the gobbler separated and I heard Hoppy tell RJ, “Take him!”

After a few stop-and-goes, I heard Vicki & Hoppy tell RJ it’s time and the big bang rang out. I watched through the LCD screen as RJ’s 1st gobbler hit the ground for the very last time. I couldn’t help but be choked up and filled with emotions—my boy did it and I was a proud old gobbler strutting my stuff. The celebration was awesome; emotions ran high; we were so proud of RJ and couldn’t have shared it with anyone better than Uncle Hoppy. Thank you God!

Here are a few things we truly learned to get the kids shooting more and using bigger guns;

1. We always have RJ shoot the gun using the Lead Sled prior to his hunt; this proved to be a great tip, since he had no flinching from the recoil. We knew that adrenaline would make him not feel the recoil on the hunt, but practicing would. This worked for RJ and it will work for anyone. By doing this with RJ, this is proof for getting anyone to shoot and not have the anticipation problems from the recoil.

2. We had RJ shooting the Orange Peel Turkey head targets every day. He built a memory on focusing in on the head and neck, and with these targets, you can see your pattern and it makes for keeping the kids attention, way more than just a plain old target.

3. We use the new BogPod with the gun bracket. This is the ticket for the youth and anyone who may have a slight problem holding up a heavier firearm or crossbow.

4. We as parents sometimes get caught up in making the kids do things that we love. It has been hard on me, but we have not pushed RJ and it is a blessing to see his drawings and papers come home from school and they all have something to do with hunting! The best one was just the other day; the teacher asked them what they want to be when they grow up and RJ said, “A HUNTER!” You know what’s funny, I think he’s not into it, but yet HE IS!

THANKS so much to Uncle Hoppy and all the Kempfer’s, for making a dream come true not only for a little 9 year-old boy/hunter, but for two very proud parents!

Oh, I almost forgot, while we were down in Florida, the Kempfer’s set up a hunter’s safety course and RJ took the course along with everyone and it was one of the best courses we have ever seen! The DNR did a great job and RJ even scored a 92% on his test—he did better than me!!!

Hunter: RJ Cianciarulo

Cameraman: Raplh and Vicki Cianciarulo