Ashley Maiolo of Franklinton said female hunters without male hunting mentors should not fret and should not fear taking things into their own hands. The self-taught huntress has been hunting deer and a number of other game for the past 10 years, mostly on her own with information she’s read in publications such as North Carolina Sportsman Magazine. 

While Maiolo has had her share of success on her own in the woods, she had never killed a turkey before this season, when she bagged a big gobbler in Kitrell. The bird weighed 22 pounds, had 1 1/4-inch spurs, and a 10-inch beard.

Maiolo did some scouting for a few days before her hunt, so she knew the habits of some turkeys she had her eye on, especially one in particular. She set up at 5:30 a.m. on the morning of the hunt, feeling confident thanks to the scouting she’d done.

With her decoys in the field, Maiolo readied herself just in the wood line of the adjacent forest, and waited. Once her target gobbler flew down, she called, and the turkey immediately answered once.

With the gobbler about 400 yards away, Maiolo said the turkey stopped responding to her, so she adjusted her setup, giving herself a different angle which she hoped would allow the turkey to hear her better. Her strategy worked. The longbeard moved her way, and as it approached her, she realized it was walking in a direction which would not offer her a shot.

Assessing the situation, she decided she would simply wait until the gobbler worked itself into her decoy spread, which would then offer her a clean shot.

“He came up right beside me, and very close to me. He walked right past me, about 10 yards away from me. It was not possible for me to get a shot at him without moving my whole body, and I knew that would send him running. I just waited, hoping he would move into the decoys,” she said.

She didn’t have to wait long, as the gobbler did exactly as she hoped, strutting his way right into the decoys, which is when Maiolo pulled the trigger on the Mossberg 12-gauge that she bought for herself on her 16th birthday, putting the turkey down for the count.

This hunt was very rewarding for Maiolo, who has killed a number of deer over the years, because she has hunted turkeys hard for the past 3 years, and finally bagged a gobbler. To commemorate the hunt, she is having a full mount done by Loftin's Taxidermy in Louisburg.

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