Well worth the waitPublished 12:41am Sunday, March 25, 2012
NATCHEZ — As John Ashton Hicks patiently watched two turkeys dance around his decoy, the anxiety of waiting a year and two days for this moment started to get to him.desirable
“It was frustrating, but exciting at the same time,” Hicks said. “I was just waiting to get a shot, and they kept going around each other.”
Between cries of “Shoot,” “Don’t shoot,” and “Stop…no shoot,” from his guide, Steven Bush, Hicks found his opportunity.
“One stopped and turned, and I shot,” Hicks said.
The result was John Ashton’s first turkey kill — a 2-year-old with a 9 3/4 inch beard — and some quality footage for Mossy Oak’s TV show “Hunting the Country.”
“It was exciting (killing my first turkey),” John Ashton said. “But it was kind of more exciting because I was on camera, and I know I’ll be on TV.”
Hicks and his father John, along with his uncle and cousin, Van and Hunter Voss, purchased the opportunity to hunt on camera two weekends ago at Pinecrest Plantation.
It was actually the second time the family had purchased the hunting trip. Last year John and John Ashton were filmed turkey hunting along with Van and his older son Nolan, but neither young hunter was able to get a kill.
This year both John Ashton, 13, and Hunter, 11, were able to kill their first turkeys and both did so while being filmed for TV.
Both father and son duos went out Friday and Saturday mornings to hunt, but to add to John Ashton’s frustration, it took until Sunday morning for him to get his turkey.
“Friday and Saturday we followed two birds — they were gobblers — and they were messing with us,” John Ashton said. “We saw them over and over again. Wherever we go they were, and they would come just out of range.”
John Ashton was never able to get a shot on those two turkeys Friday and Saturday, but Hunter managed to kill his turkey Saturday.
“(Hunter) got one, and we were excited for him,” John Ashton said. “And then it made me want to kill one.”
Hunter said going on his first turkey hunt while being filmed for TV was a special moment.
“It was a great experience because I never get to do this,” he said. “It might be the one time I am able to (hunt on TV).”
Hunter’s older brother Nolan, 16, was too old to go on the hunt this year, but Hunter said Nolan was happy his younger brother was able to kill a turkey.
“I wished he would have gotten a turkey (last year),” Hunter said. “But he told me after I killed the turkey that I did a good job.”
Saturday evening after Hunter’s kill, the family sat down to watch the video of the shot, and Hunter gave his cousin some words of encouragement for Sunday.
“I told him the second time was a lucky charm for him,” Hunter said.
Once John Ashton finally brought down the bird that had eluded him for so long he was relieved, he said.
Like Hunter, John Ashton was able to watch his kill on video Sunday evening, and he said watching it in slow motion was a cool experience.
“Once we saw our video, we were relaxed after that and didn’t have to worry about anything anymore,” John Ashton said.
John Ashton said he was more at ease having cameras follow him this year than he was last year.
“Last year it was uncomfortable for me, because it was the first time doing film stuff and turkey hunting,” he said. “But I kind of got used to it last year, and this year felt different because I’d been experienced doing it.”
John Ashton said he worked with Bush, who was the cameraman, field producer and guide for the group, last year. He said that his caller, Stephen Edwards, also worked with the group last year.
John said he and his son learned a great deal about how hunting TV shows are made last year but actually killing a turkey this year allowed them to see more detail.
“After you kill one they take some shots from different angles and kind of recreate parts of the hunt,” John said.
John said after that they do interviews with the hunters and other participants about the hunt.
John Ashton said that he went turkey hunting four or five times after his first try for the TV show last year, but never got a shot at a bird.
Hunter said he enjoyed his first turkey hunt and hopes to go more often.
“I like all the calls and how the turkeys drum and how they get big and puff out,” he said. “It’s kind of cool to see that.”
The family did not purchase the opportunity to be on the show again this year, but John Ashton said they hope to try again in the future.
“It’s kind of a Hicks and Voss tradition,” he said.
The TV show featuring the boys’ kills will air in early 2013, John said.