Young Coleman Carter adds first turkey to his trophy collection
NATCHEZ — It took 6-year-old Coleman Carter three tries to nab a turkey, but he has plenty of luck on his side already.
Carter had been on hunting outings with his grandfather, Kinney Carlton, whom his grandchildren refer to as “Boss,” since the start of deer season. He already had four does, one buck and a couple of wild hogs to his name, so Carter had to be feeling pretty good about his chances with a gobbler.
“It was my third turkey hunt,” Carter said. “We saw one last time, but my dad sneezed, and he scared it away.”
Father David Carter was not on this particular trip — “I’m not much of a hunter,” David admitted — but Carlton provided plenty of support for his grandson. And it didn’t take too long before Coleman would get his chance when the two went turkey hunting a third time April 5.
“We were in the blinds, and we called a hen up to us,” Carlton said. “About 30 to 45 minutes later, we saw two big gobblers strutting. We kept messing with them until they got closer. It took 30 minutes for them to get within 30 yards.”
Coleman said he got excited when he saw the turkey coming closer.
“Oh my gosh,” Coleman recalled saying. “His eyes were that big around.”
His grandfather enjoyed seeing his grandson excited, Carlton said.
“He said, ‘Holy cow, he was a monster,’” Carlton said.
A 20-gauge shotgun was Coleman’s weapon of choice, and he admitted to being a bit nervous as he pointed the gun at the bird.
“I was shaking when I saw him,” Coleman said.
Carlton took the opportunity to kid his grandson when he saw him twitching.
“He was extremely excited,” Carlton said. “I asked him what he was shaking for, and he said he was cold, but I knew it was the adrenaline.”
The turkey went down, and Coleman had his first gobbler, which weighed 18 pounds and had a 10 1/2-inch beard. After adding it to his collection of deer he harvested, Coleman didn’t hesitate to name his favorite part about going hunting.
“Killing them,” Coleman exclaimed.
The reaction drew a chuckle from Carlton.
“He likes to see them fall,” Carlton said. “Turkey hunting is pretty exciting for a youngster.”
Though he enjoys turkey hunting, the four doe — two of which fell on one shot — and the buck Coleman took during deer season helped convince him that deer are his favorite animal to hunt.
“They come out so early, almost when we get there — like first thing,” Coleman said.
And it’s always the same reaction whenever Coleman spots a deer.
“The first thing I do when I see one is flip down my scope,” Coleman said. “Boss says, ‘Are you ready,’ and I say, ‘I’m ready.’”
One of the more rewarding things about going hunting with his grandson is watching him become more patient in just a year’s time, Carlton said.
“Most children aren’t patient at that age,” Carlton said. “From age 5 to 6, he changed a lot. He can sit in a stand two to three hours without wanting to go home, and that’s not how it was last year.”
But Carlton stressed that it’s important not to allow hunting to ever become boring so that youth stay interested in the hobby as they grow.
“If it becomes boring, you need to leave,” Carlton said. “If you force them to stay, they won’t have any fun.”
Coleman is also the son of Paige Carter.