In our town and school, hunting is a regular occurrence and topic of conversation. For freshman Noah Chaplin, hunting is a big part of his life, as he started his hunting career when he was just 11 years old. His uncle Kevin was the person who first sparked this passion in Chaplin. On his first hunt, he was with his uncle and killed a small jake, which is a young male turkey. Even though it was a small catch, Chaplin still remembers it to this day.
“When I killed my first turkey, I instantly wanted to hunt again, and it has fed my passion ever since. My heart was pounding, and I couldn’t believe I did it,” said Chaplin.
When hunting, a lot of gear is required in order to be successful, but every hunter has their own way of doing things. The first thing Chaplin does is lay all of his camouflage gear outside so it loses his smell. He does this so he can be near the animals without them picking up his scent. He also has to set up a ground blind or tree stand as a place to hunt from. Chaplin also has three main weapons he uses. One of them is a 12 gauge shotgun that is used mainly for deer and turkeys. Another gun he uses is a .243 Remington, which is a rifle that has a longer range. Depending on the season, he also uses a diamond camouflage bow. A skinning knife and a sitting pad are two more essential items Chaplin brings along.
“I am very happy with the guns I have because they have been given to me as gifts, and they mean a lot to me. I would like a couple more as I get older, though,” said Chaplin.
After killing an animal, he is given two choices. One thing Chaplin has done is mount the animal.
“If it is a good animal, like a mature turkey or buck, you can get it mounted to put on the wall. If it was just for meat, you can either gut it in the field or take it with you and gut it at home,” said Chaplin.
So far in his hunting career, Chaplin has only killed two animals. One was the small jake, and the other was a tom, which is a mature male turkey. Although he has only killed turkeys, his favorite hunting season is deer season. Chaplin enjoys everything about hunting, from all the preparation to the clean-up.
“My favorite part about hunting is when you are sitting in the woods and you finally get the chance to take down the animal you have been waiting for the whole time,” said Chaplin.
Story by Michael Hannon