Mentor Background: I was born and raised in Dallas, Ga., and I currently still live in Dallas. I started hunting around the age of 8. After killing a couple of deer and turkey within the first few years of hunting, I was hooked for life. I grew up around hunting and fishing. Both were introduced to me by my dad. I grew up hunting public land, and still to this day I hunt public land. Thanks to my dad for being a great mentor and teacher, I have been very successful when it comes to public-land hunting.
Mentee Background: Kalie Tidwell is 14 and was also raised in Dallas. Her father is Chad Tidwell, and her mother is Christie Tidwell. Kalie is a true hunter and has the patience for hunting. Chad introduced her to deer hunting five years ago when she was 9 years old. Chad has been a great mentor and teacher when it comes to deer hunting, and she has killed great bucks in her time of hunting.
By Hunter Galloway
I think I have provided a well-rounded learning experience for Kalie over the past two turkey seasons. I have hunted the Georgia Special Opportunity Season for turkeys when it officially started in 2014. I think when they added this special two-day season, it brought much opportunity for kids 16 years and younger, plus mobility-impaired people.
When I turned 17 years old, I could not hunt the Special Opportunity Season in the 2017 season. I decided then I wanted to take a kid that has never hunted turkeys before and has limited experience about turkey hunting. Since Chad Tidwell is a close friend of ours, I asked if he would let his 13-year-old daughter Kalie join us on a turkey hunt and possibly kill her first turkey on our private land. Of course they were all for it.
Kalie ended up killing a jake and a big gobbler on opening morning of the hunt.
In January 2018, I invited Kalie back for another opportunity to kill a turkey in March and introduce her more into turkey hunting since she seemed to love it so much. Saturday morning, a big gobbler came in, and she missed. Without hesitation, Kalie wanted to come back Sunday morning for another chance.
Not even an hour into the hunt, Kalie blasted a longbeard while I called and ran a camera. This hunt was truly amazing for Kalie and me. I love seeing a kid as happy as her killing a turkey and especially getting this whole hunt on video. It was a blessing for us both. I later explained to Kalie that this doesn’t happen often. She killed two turkeys last season and then turned around the next season and killed a big gobbler. I have been hunting many times and never seen or heard a gobble. It was a memory that lasted a lifetime and a learning experience that will stick.
Why Is Mentoring Is Important To Me
I think mentoring is extremely important. My dad introduced me into hunting years ago and took time out of his personal hunting time just to teach me about hunting and the outdoors. I will always be thankful for that. When it comes to hunting and the outdoors, I think every kid needs a mentor or role model to teach them important stuff.
The way I looked at it when I asked to take Kalie turkey hunting is that I personally wanted a person to teach me about hunting when I was younger. I just wanted that opportunity, and thankfully, I got it from my dad. I wanted to pass this chance down and take a kid hunting to teach them new things. Hunting is something that needs to be passed down and taught forever. I am doing my part in doing so at the age of 18. I personally think that the learning will NEVER end. Hunting is a never-ending learning process no matter how old you are. I learn new things every time I go hunting, plus I still go to my dad with many questions, but a kid or an unexperienced person just needs that one person in their life to teach them.
With everything going on in this world today, hunting or the outdoors may save a kid and help them stay out of trouble. I will keep doing my part for the rest of my life being a mentor.