Hunting for a Cure is an organization that raises money to fight against childhood disease. The mission of Hunt for the Cure is to introduce children to the joys of wildlife, hunting, and the outdoors and to also raise funds through volunteers and sponsors to contribute to the fight against childhood disease. Hunters from everywhere donate hunts and individuals purchase these hunts at a silent auction at the Hunt for the Cure banquet. The highest bid wins the hunt and 100% of all the proceeds go to St. Jude?s Children?s Hospital in Memphis Tennessee.
Recently, Jimmy Bradley of Pageland, South Carolina was involved with Hunting for a Cure. Jimmy donated a few turkey hunts and the hunts were purchased by John and Tyler Largen of west Tennessee. Tyler is 11 years old and he and his father just started turkey hunting last year. From hearing Jimmy tell of their experiences turkey hunting in SC, I?d say that they definitely have a few hunts to remember.
Jimmy, Tyler, and John?s first hunt together was on Thursday morning. I asked Jimmy to give me some insight as to what all happened on some of their hunts. It really gets tough towards the end! Jimmy has described some of the memories of the few days of hunting below:
Our first hunt was on Thursday morning and we got in really tight on a nice tom. I took my wing out and did four ?Fly downs? with it and the long-beard immediately hammered! He flew down, but no matter what, he was not coming our way. He headed in the opposite direction so we pulled up and moved a half mile down the road. After we moved we heard two birds gobbling really well. So, we set up on the two birds that were gobbling. We called to them and they would gobble back at the calls really well, but they must have been with hens because they would not come near the area we were hunting. In time, they got quiet and we had not heard them for about an hour. We decided to move about a 100 yards and make a new set up. As you would imagine, when we stood up and walked to the decoys the birds flew off!!! They were within 75 yards and where coming in on us silently. I thought to myself that I really blew that one !! At this point, we decided to break for lunch and give John and Tyler time to take a nap because they had arrived late.
John and Tyler Largen on the float trip
We headed back out for the afternoon and set up where we had seen the birds that morning. About 7:00pm I could hear something walking to my right. I looked and saw a Gobbler coming. I was trying to get Tyler turned in that direction so he?d be ready to get his first turkey. About that same time his father, John, turned towards the action and the turkey saw his movement and within moments the bird was gone. Dad had gotten caught! We hunted until dark and came out. We decided we?d try again Friday morning and hoped for better luck.
Friday morning we listened for birds but did not hear any that were within our hunting area. We decided to be creative and do something different since this was a special hunt. We decided to try to float the river! This float trip turned out to be a hunt we would never forget.
In order to do this ?float trip? we needed a boat. After getting my dad?s boat out of the weeds where it has sat for the last 20 years, we made a quick run to Wal-Mart to buy a plug and some paddles. We were excited about our big float trip because the birds seem to gobble really well on the river, but they don?t appear to move too far away from the water. We figured we would just float down the river and call a little and when some turkeys responded, we?d pull the boat up and set up on them.
Jimmy Bradley and the boat After getting everything at Wal-Mart we finally got the boat to the water. Everything started out smooth, then we came to some rocks and I had to get out and pull the boat through. We got back into the boat and got into a good rhythm and were just taking in the whole float trip idea! We weren?t hearing any turkeys calling back, but to be floating down the river turkey hunting seemed neat at this point in time.
I continued calling ever so often, but nothing responded to my calls. Soon enough we came to some more rocks. Here again we had to get out of the boat to pull it through the rocks. We started back on our journey and drifted around a curve and I called some more. Still nothing was responding to my calls. We floated a little ways down the river again and, yes, had to get back out of the boat to pull it through more rocks. We got back on our way and called again and still nothing responded! Then we had to get back out of the boat to pull it past some more rocks! You should be getting the picture by now! By now our ?quick? cruise had lasted 4 hours and we hadn?t even heard a gobble, but we sure had seen a lot of rocks!
While floating down the river we made plans to eat dinner at Beth?s Country Kitchen because pork chops (YUM YUM!) were on the menu and I figured John and Tyler might like that because everyone else in Pageland does. We decided it couldn?t be much further to the bridge where we parked the truck. It didn?t take us long to figure out that we were wrong. We continued to pull the boat down the river which by now seemed to be more rocks than river. We started to get tired so we stopped for a break. When we stopped for a break John dropped his BlackBerry in the river. Our novel idea for a ?float trip turkey hunt? was turning out to be accident prone and more like work than hunting!
The River and The Rocks
Things really went downhill after that. We continued to walk and pull the boat over the rocks and our ?quick? trip ended up being 6 hours long. At the height of all of the bloopers, I slipped on a rock and fell into the only deep spot in the river! I was completely soaked and my wallet, camera, and range finder were soaked too! We realized our ?quick? trip had cut us out of eating pork chops at Beth?s. This was indeed a low-point for the whole squad.
Then we did the unthinkable?We abandoned ship! Due to complete exhaustion, we pulled the boat up into the woods and walked out. Our ?quick? trip ended up lasting 8 hours and I was beaten, battered, and thirsty! The only thing to do in this situation was to laugh about it. We laughed and had fun despite all the river threw at us on our float trip. Shortly thereafter, we went and ate a nice dinner at the Mexican restaurant in Pageland and talked about our fun-filled-day. This was definitely one hunt we will never forget. During the whole river trip we never heard a single gobble! I guess we all have bad days and this was one of mine!
Someone is going to be walking down the river and come up on an old john boat and wonder how it got there. All I can say is take it?It?s yours! You haul it out and you got a boat?.that is, if you get back to it before I do!
Even though no turkey was harvested on their trip, Jimmy the guys definitely had a trip to remember. I?m glad that I didn?t have to haul the boat over all those rocks, but I?ve done similar things before in my life! Jimmy says John and Tyler were troopers even through the blunders of the last day of hunting. So congratulations to them for being soldiers in the backwoods of SC!
Though the last day of hunting turned out pretty rough, we applaud Jimmy for donating a trip to Hunting for a Cure and also encourage you to do so if you can. If you would like to get involved with Hunting for a Cure, contact email@example.com and tell them we sent you.
In the mean time, I think I may go and find me a free john boat!