Brittney and Andre Deoliveira proudly display their trophy birds.
Father and daughter double in Florida
My 18th birthday was approaching, and there were three things I wanted to do: register to vote and get my driver’s license and hunting permits.
Although my birthday was two weeks away, my parents presented me with an early gift, a Benelli SuperNova shotgun. The next afternoon, my dad and I were off to our first turkey hunt at Avon Park Air Force Range, north of Florida’s Lake Okeechobee.
At 5:30 a.m., Sunday, April 18, 2010, we were in separate blinds waiting for the woods to wake. By 9:40 a hunter — complete with decoys, calls and two shotguns — passed between us. Dad thought the hunt was spoiled, but five minutes later I saw two black figures across the field. I could tell they were turkeys even though I couldn’t see their beards, so I slowly picked up my shotgun. I was shaking badly and feeling the weight of my gun even more.
The turkeys were on a mission to get to the sanctuary behind me. Bald cypress trunks allowed for a small shooting window to my left. When the first bearded turkey entered my field of view, everything happened quickly.
I tried pulling the trigger, but nothing happened. I checked the safety and concluded I needed to pull harder on the trigger. By this time, the first turkey passed and the second one crossed right in front of me.
One shot was all I needed.
As I ran out from my blind to the bird, the sound of two quick shots came from Dad’s direction. Dad came running to his bird yelling, “I got him! I got him!” not realizing I shot a turkey also. He thought the bird he shot was one I missed.
When Dad heard me shoot, he looked up and saw a turkey sprinting toward the sanctuary. He picked up his gun and fired when he saw the red head come into range. The bird fell 7 feet from the fence, then got back up.
Just before the bird stuck its head under the barbed wire, Dad followed with a second shot. Both Osceolas were done for.
Dad and I will always look back on this wonderful weekend. Thank you Ray Mallory from SweetLifeOutdoors.com for giving me my first turkey call and encouraging me to take my wood-burning skills to the NWTF Convention and Sport Show’s callmaking competition. Thank you Ralph Wittenkeller for scouting, guiding and witnessing this hunt. — Brittney Deoliveira, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.