When Chris Hensley of Morganton took his 6-year-old daughter Teaghann turkey hunting on the second day of youth season, he had intentions of setting things straight from her hunt the day before, when she shot a jake with her .410, drew a few feathers, then watched the jake run off. The second hunt had a happier ending, as she killed a gobbler with a 10-inch beard.

“The opening youth day, we took her .410, and she shot the jake. She made a good shot, and drew feathers, but the bird ran off. The next day around 6:30 a.m., we took my 12-gauge, which I knew she wouldn’t be able to shoot on her own, but I had a plan,” said Hensley.

With Teaghann in his lap, the gun supported on a shooting stick, and the butt of the gun on his shoulder, Hensley made a couple of calls, heard a gobbler answer, then let the scene play out. It didn’t take long.

“It was probably 15 or 20 minutes into the hunt when we saw the hens come in. I told her to get ready, because the gobbler would probably be coming soon. We saw his fan coming over the hill, and as soon as he saw our decoy, he came quickly,” he said.

Once the bird got about 35 yards away, Hensley lowered his head behind her back, told her to shoot when it all seemed right, and braced himself for the shot.

“She said ‘I got him targeted daddy, I got him targeted,’ and I told her to pull the trigger when she’s ready. When you’ve got a gun braced on your shoulder and someone else is pulling the trigger, it’s quite a shock when it happens. She shot, the gun flew off the shooting stick, and when all that calmed down, the turkey was laying right there. She’d just killed her first turkey,” said Hensley.

Hensley said his daughter enjoyed the hunt so much, that he may have spent his last days in the woods alone.

“She’s excited about it. I know I had the gun pressed against my shoulder, and the shooting stick was supporting the weight of the gun, but she did the aiming and everything else all on her own. I think that’s pretty amazing for a 6-year-old. I may not get to spend any free time alone in the woods after that, but that’s a good thing,” he said.

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