Teenager enjoys solitary hunt
NATCHEZ — From the time Cathedral School senior Brent Gaudé could walk, he was a hunter.
His father would take a young Brent to the woods, and the duo would sit in the stand while his father tried to hunt, Gaudé said.
“It might not have been the best idea, because I couldn’t keep still or be quiet, but he would still do it,” said Gaudé, now 17.
Since those days Gaudé was hooked — hunting became his passion.
When Gaudé was 7 he killed his first deer, but even then he wanted to get the bigger ones.
“(It was) kind of weird because I killed a really small one, and a few minutes later some really big ones walked through the field, and my dad told me, ‘No we can’t shoot those, too,’” Gaudé said.
Last week, Gaudé decided to go hunting in a way that he had never hunted before.
He wanted to go alone, without a hunting partner, and see if he could kill a turkey by himself.
He saw it as an achievement that he wanted to accomplish this year, Gaudé said.
Gaudé awoke at 5 a.m., on a spring break morning, and headed out to accomplish his mission.
“Actually, the weird thing was (what) I told this lady at the gas station. She asked, ‘Are you gonna kill one?’ And I said, ‘Yes ma’am, I think I am.”
When he thought about that later, he said he hoped he hadn’t jinxed himself.
When he got to Second Union Hunting Club, he went to a place where he had seen turkeys earlier in the year, a street called “No Name.” He did not hear any gobbling there this time.
He then thought he heard some turkeys across the street, so he followed the gobbles.
“Our hunting camp is just a bunch of big bottoms (hills and valleys) everywhere,” Gaudé said.
“So, I went down the ridge, and the next thing I know there were about 30 of them, up in the trees just staring at me. I thought I had messed up then. They all flew away.”
Gaudé followed the turkeys up the ridge, where he thought he had gotten himself lost, he said. Then he saw the same group of turkeys, this time on the ground, staring at him yet again, he said. They again flew away.
As he went back to his truck, he heard some more gobbling from the same area, but decided not to turn back because that group had given him enough trouble already, he said.
After awhile, the early morning hours got to him.
“I even took a little nap up against a tree. I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore,” Gaudé said.
Around 9:45 a.m. Gaudé was ready to give up.
“I was thinking, ‘Alright, it’s about time to go home. I messed everything up earlier.’ Right when I picked all my decoys up, and I just got out of the food plot, one gobbled right down at the bottom, and I thought, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.’”
“So, I got my caller out of my bag and called once, and it called again. I called again and it gobbled again. I was thinking, this is my lucky day.”
After tracking the turkey for a few minutes, Gaudé got a clean shot.
“I knew I was going to hit it,” Gaudé said.
“There wasn’t any doubt. I wasn’t letting this one get away. I was starting to hate him, after walking all that way and having them fly away.”
When he got his kill Gaudé was so excited he jumped up and yelled, he said.
“I’m glad nobody was there because of my celebration at the end,” Gaudé said.
“I jumped up, I don’t really remember what I did, but I just know I would have embarrassed myself pretty bad.”
Gaudé then called his father, who had been teasing him all along that he would not get a kill on his first time out alone. His father didn’t believe him at first, he said.
“Really, my dad contributes my whole kill to screwing up in the beginning, and making all the birds fly away,” Gaudé said.
Gaudé is keeping the 15/16 of an inch spurs, the 9 inch beard and the feet. He said his family ate the turkey a couple of days ago.
“It was really good,” he said.
Gaudé said that he loves the thrill of the hunt and getting a kill, especially when he gets the opportunity to go by himself.
“I like to know that I’m the only one out there. It’s me against the animal. If one thing goes wrong (you know that you are the one that) messed up,” Gaudé said.
Gaudé has hunted deer, dove, quail and turkey, he said.
He even finds himself practicing his turkey call — which he admits he needs some work on — when he is away from the hunting club, he said.
“Whenever I get in my truck, I just start practicing. I irritate people at school because whenever I pull up to school I just sit there and call.
“But you got to learn sometime, you got to practice.”
Although, the thrill of the kill is one of Gaudé’s favorite aspects of hunting, he enjoys the more peaceful aspects, as well, he said.
“I just like to be outdoors a lot. I’m not really an indoor guy. I’m not big on loud noises and people being crowded together. I kind of like the solitude.”