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The Day that Tom finally died

Whoa baby.... There are some times in life where I find myself frustrated. Frustrated because I fail at something be it work, being a mom or wife or even a hunter and sportswoman. I haven't been at it as long as some of these other guys and gals I've had the utmost pleasure of working with, but my perfectionism has constantly got in my way. I'll explain in a bit.

Now, one thing is for sure. I was frustrated going into this hunt on the weekend of May 10th (which also was my husband, Brenden's, birthday). Our team had a long laundry list of things to do from shooting film of Greenline's John Deere equipment while working on our food plots, organizing ourselves as a group since we don't share an office, much less a city, shooting film for a sponsor partnership and all of that being as productive as possible.Of course, lots of rain kept us just trying to make it work and had Garrett and Brenden returning to finish in the next week.

To that date, I have been either ghosted or I've psyched myself out of every shot at a turkey. It had been so long since I had been out hunting (period) and been successful, with being pregnant with my son, Bowen, and I was determined that this season was my season. However, being such a perfectionist even my duck seasons from last year, my deer rifle season and the two turkey seasons prior had all gone empty handed as I was too afraid to fail. I would think that not only would I miss, but embarrass myself and therefore embarrass Brenden and the team had I been honest about those feelings.

Well, ladies particularly, and men too, don't let your mind deceive you. Hunting, yes, is a sport and it will not always pan out how you picture, but when you let go of the expectation of perfection, awesome happens and the joy that follows is far more worth the status you desire. Perfect is the enemy of good. Side note done.

So, here we are in Lynch, I am DYING to shoot something, even pull the trigger after pregnancy and maternity leave, not to mention this was the LONGEST I had been from baby #2. Garrett Heikes was gracious enough to sense my desperation and sit with me in a blind at Ponca Creek Outfitters in Lynch, Neb. to guide and call for me. My inefficiencies at turkey calling are a WHOLE other story... I mean laugh. Game on. We're all learning here.

That Saturday morning, we went to sit in a blind that was on the South side of the property. This was where we had gone once the year before and I never saw a bird. Can you sense my hunger for a bird, yet?

Garrett and I got set up with cameras, decoys, all to be hidden away in what we realized was someone else's blind that was also facing the wrong direction. Serves us right.

With one shooting window, cedars on one side limiting our view, we waited until two jakes and three hens happened across our field of view. I am still always so impressed and jealous at successful calling be it birds or mammals and find it awesome to hear the conversation commencing. Garrett had called the group in within ten yards where they began to get spooked at the decoy and the NOW down windows of this blind. Smart little thunder chickens, huh? To our displeasure, the cedar on our right was in my way of a shot and we went home empty handed and frustrated. Tis' the Biz.

After a long day of rain, hard work, filming and okay, some drinks too, we trekked to another spot on Sunday morning after Garrett called to roost a tom the evening prior. Conveniently, we found a blind that our Outfitter forgot to take down and decided to use it when we were originally planning to be in the trees. Luckily, we had black layers underneath.

As we sat hunkered down with cameras rolling, the typical talks about life and me pegging poor Garrett with a million questions about hunting turkeys, light became more evident and we heard gobbles. Garrett called back using a mouth call and continued to call in three hens and a Merriam Hybrid that would soon become my main man. Or main dish. Somewhere along the line, Garrett had a migraine and a stomach ache, so of course my mom instinct is showing. Did you drink enough water? We should find some lemons... What was new in your diet? I mean, COME ON LINDSAY!

Then after what seemed like years of calling back and forth, and another ten years of silence, we finally saw the three hens breach our field of view followed by this tom. Not the biggest guy in the world, but a long beard nonetheless.

There we are in the heat of the moment and Garrett is telling me to shoot. Of course, I know there will be physical evidence if I miss. Embarrassing Brenden, my team and myself if I do. I start absolutely freaking out and start having a conversation in my own head.

"Come on, pull the trigger, do it, you can make the shot, you know it."

I knew I could make the shot, I really did, I was part in awe of this creature that was unknowing of the calling he would fill to feed my family, and terrified that if I miss this bird will dart and breath it's last where we can't find him. I know, it's getting deep here.

Before I know it, the trigger pulls, I hear nothing and see this tom jump and start to flop in distress. He finally lays to rest, had one last go with his muscles relaxing and the deed is done. I am almost crying in joy. GUYS,


I was so excited, I started screaming like a child. There were fist bumps, speechless moments, I almost punched Garrett and was trembling beyond belief. We took some pictures and I could NOT get over how beautiful this bird was. I have always loved birds for their colorful feathers and this tom was no exception.Upon returning to the cabin, Garrett helped me clean the bird, since I had yet to do so and Oakley our hunting lab was enjoying the random snacks here and there. I sensed Brenden was a bit jealous, but I was so happy I didn't care. After being left at home so much, being new to turkey hunting, fighting myself... I accomplished the biggest thing to myself.

So there you have it. That tom went down in order to fulfill not only my family's freezer but my self respect as a huntress as well. The only place to go is up and I can't wait to go on

this journey with all of you!

---- Lindsay

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