Hunting And Fishing With Jo, Part 3

By Brandon Jewett

Editor’s note: This is part three of a story written by Brandon Jewett of Yakima about hunting and fishing with his dynamo of a daughter, Jo. We’re serializing it in four installments this week. Parts one and two ran on Monday and Tuesday – see

FIVE YEARS HAVE PASSED SINCE that first grouse hunt, and Jo’s grown out of her “Daddy pack.” She opts for shoulder rides instead, but most of the time she walks, or runs. She stops to pick and smell flowers, wipe the curly blonde hair from her eyes and stuff her pant pockets with rocks that I later collect from my dryer. She knows which roads and draws produce the most grouse, has grown quite fond of pheasant and quail hunting because they taste the best and we get to take Drifter, our yellow Lab. 

Not surprisingly, Jo’s favorite has become dove hunting. That’s because while dove hunting we can sit in big lawn chairs and eat snacks. She can identify every animal we see and can do a darned good impression of most animal sounds, especially cow elk. If she doesn’t know the sound, she will just make one up, and that’s always fun. She can identify tracks; she knows her directions shockingly well and loves climbing trees. She’s ridiculously good at it too – which has not been good for my blood pressure. 


A couple years ago, her self-proclaimed expert-level outdoor know-how caused a bit of a problem. She’s grown up in the mountains? Yes. She truly is advanced for her age? Yes. She has learned a lot and knows so much. Yes. She wants to go deer and elk hunting? Yes, but no.

I explained to her the best I could that although I think she could do it, she just isn’t quite ready. This did not go over well. In fact, it took me three trips to the frozen yogurt shack before I was forgiven. It did not end there. There were some new toys involved, some stuffed animals, treats and a compromise. What about turkey hunting? She accepted my terms under one condition. “I want those clothes just like Papa’s.”

More overtime.

I DROPPED A LINE TO A LIFELONG BUDDY who pointed me in the direction of some flat-walking turkey spots. Another friend reached out and found me some private land very close to our hotel – a hotel specially chosen for one reason: an indoor swimming pool. It was a surprise that made the disappointment of not going deer hunting acceptable, for now. 

As we got ready to go out for our afternoon hunt, it was suggested we just go swimming instead because the turkeys “were having dinner.” As this was Jo’s hunt, not mine, I donned my trunks and swam in subzero water for two full hours while the turkeys enjoyed their dinner in the nice spring weather.


“Is there anywhere to get a good steak around here, Daddy?” that tiny voice asked. I assumed there was, so we climbed out of the pool and headed for town. Jo was quite entertaining to the folks sitting next to us at the steakhouse, especially when she looked at the hostess and said, “I don’t need a menu. I want steak and shrimp.” And that what she got, steak and shrimp. Overtime.

The next morning came early. I had the truck loaded before I attempted to wake her. I had asked for a room next to an outside door, and of course the pool. The managers had been quite accommodating. My body was still sore from the never-ending games of sharks and minnows – after dinner, there had been no reason we couldn’t get back in the pool because it didn’t close until 11 p.m., Jo had she reminded me. Needless to say, I hadn’t exactly sprung to my feet when my alarm went off. 

“Ugggg, Daddyyyy, the turkeys are still sleeeeping,” Jo said. 

Then she smelled the hot cocoa. “Can I paint my face, and can we get breakfast?”

STANDING IN THE MIDDLE OF SOME TREES somewhere I had never been before, we heard it: Deafening silence. Exactly what I’d been most afraid of. Not a single gobble.

“See, I told you they were still sleeping, Daddy,” Jo confirmed. 

We slowly made our way deeper into the unknown property collecting rocks and pinecones, and making footprints in the wet earth. Then a gobbler decided to clear his throat. The grin on Jo’s face was the best thing I’ve seen in a while. At 5 years old she had some teeth missing, two were dangling, the rest shining bright. 

“He’s here, he’s here!” she said.

We set up and I explained what was about to happen, or at least what I hoped was about to happen. She listened intently, then dug out a bag of chips from her backpack. As we sat listening for gobbles, all I could hear was the rustling of the bag and the crunching of chips. It was hilarious. I’m so glad I brought the video camera along and had it rolling. I’ll show that clip at her wedding one day, if there is any man who can ever meet my standards for her. Good luck, buddy. 

At the same moment, Jo decided my placement of her earmuffs over her hat were not acceptable. She took them off in one quick motion and waved those pretty blonde locks around, then spotted the bird.

“Oh, Daddy, he’s right there!” she said.

Brandon Jewett

When the bird gobbled again it had covered some serious ground. I made some turkey noises that sounded good to me, and he gobbled immediately, so I guess they sounded good to him too. Jo was frozen, chips in hand, mouth open. As I got in her backpack to get her earmuffs (something I should have done much earlier), the turkey gobbled right on top of us. I had just got her ear muffs on when I looked up and made eye contact with the bird. At the same moment, Jo decided my placement of her earmuffs over her hat were not acceptable. She took them off in one quick motion and waved those pretty blonde locks around, then spotted the bird.

“Oh, Daddy, he’s right there!” she said.

The bird had seen and probably heard enough. After all, whisper screams really aren’t very quiet.

“He ran away,” Jo said, disappointed. 

“I know baby. That was my fault,” I said, comforting her.

To be continued …