Kylie Moody; The Dancing Turkey Hunter
The great outdoors provides for an excellent lifestyle for those that embrace its lessons in family, humility, woodsmanship and harvest. Ken McBroom
THE STORY BEGINS IN GEORGIA
Milledgeville, Georgia is a charming town smack in the middle of Georgia. Located in beautiful Baldwin County. Baldwin County is steeped in rich history and culture and served as the state capital for 60 years. Milledgeville is also home to many historic communities that survived Sherman’s burning march through Georgia during the civil war. It is also home to Kylie Moody, The Dancing Turkey Hunter.
An exhilarating part of writing about people like Kylie is the research. Researching Milledgeville, Georgia slowed the completion of this article by at least a day, but it was worth it. The research turned up a few notable people that called Milledgeville their home and as a writer, one name piqued my interest. Flannery O’Connor. She was an American author that lived on a family farm near Milledgeville. I was familiar with the name, but not her writing. Imagine my surprise when I found that one of her more famous stories is titled “The Turkey.” I now know of two famous ladies from Milledgeville, Georgia. A lady that’s considered one of America’s greatest fiction writers and a young turkey hunter that loves to dance.
Kylie Moody is first and foremost a competitive dancer as well as a turkey hunter. When asked which she preferred, dancing or turkey hunting? Kylie answered with the least hesitation of any of my questions. “ Dancing,” she said. I could feel the grin through the phone with all of her answers, but this one especially. Not only is Kylie a turkey hunter, but at age 9 she has harvested 6 mature gobblers. How do I know they were all mature gobblers? Kylie reports that she doesn’t shoot jakes, only gobblers.
INTRODUCTION TO THE HUNT
Kylie had experienced several turkey hunts before her big day. At 3 years old, she was in the blind for her mom’s first turkey. The next season Lani killed her second gobbler and Kylie and her dad was right there by her side to celebrate the accomplishment. At age 5 Kylie watched her dad arrow two turkeys on two separate hunts. By now Kylie had been a part of 4 successful turkey hunts and was ready for her own gobbler. The preparations began.
KYLIE’S FIRST GOBBLER
Kylie’s first turkey was a good one. Kyle, Kylie’s dad scouted the days leading up to Kylie’s first turkey hunt. He wanted the trip to be special for his daughter. A trip that would forever dance in her memories. The set up was chosen and the hunt was scheduled. Kyle had a spot picked out close to a roost. He set the blind up to be in the best position on opening morning. Kylie’s mom would run the camera for Kylie’s first turkey hunt. The hunt went just as scripted, often a tough feat in the turkey woods. Kyle’s hard work scouting and preparing for the hunt paid off and Kylie puts her first turkey down with a .410 shotgun at fifteen yards. It had a 9-inch beard with 1-inch spurs and with the shot another turkey hunter was added to our ranks.
FIRST TURKEY GUN
After Kylie’s first gobbler with the .410, it was time to step it up with her very own turkey gun. A 20 gauge Mossberg youth model was purchased and it was the perfect turkey gun for Kylie. Coupled with the new heavy shot technology the 20 gauge and even the .410 is gaining respect in the turkey woods. There is no doubt in the effectiveness of Kylie’s 20 gauge with the successful hunts she has had. There is nothing like a young hunter getting their very own gun. I remember getting my first real gun and had trouble giving it up as I outgrew it. The Mossberg youth model might just be one of those guns and I have read where some adult hunters have turned to the youth model for its lightweight and compact size.
A FAMILY AFFAIR
Kylie and her family are active in promoting their adventures through video and social media. As an outdoor communicator, I appreciate the work that goes into editing and posting successful adventures, to be enjoyed by so many. I am learning that today’s digital world provides opportunities for sharing these adventures. People like Kylie are the ultimate ambassadors for our hunting lifestyles and traditions. People young and old enjoy seeing families enjoying time together.
Hunting is an excellent way to get away from the stresses of everyday life and come together in a blind or hiking a few hardwood ridges in search of another turkey. It’s my hope that by documenting hunts through articles like this and families, like the Moodys, sharing their hunts, that more parents, uncles, neighbors, and friends will become more active in recruiting young people into the outdoors. The Moody family has taken the steps to introduce their daughter to hunting and are an inspiration to others to do the same. We salute you Kylie for your patience and perseverance and wish you luck in your quest for the Wild Turkey Grand Slam.
THE NWTF WILD TURKEY GRAND SLAM
A slam is considered one of the biggest feats in turkey hunting. A hunter must harvest each species or subspecies of wild turkey listed under one of the six recognized slams in turkey hunting to complete a slam. If you want to test your turkey hunting skills and abilities, aim to complete one or all six slams. NWTF
Grand Slam — All four U.S. Subspecies (Eastern, Osceola or Florida, Rio Grande and Merriam’s)