Six year old Ava Ellyson may be young, but she is already blessed with the skills needed to become a great hunter. Ava started this spring with a goal of killing a Nebraska gobbler. The crossbow proved to be the perfect tool for her. Crossbows don’t punish a young shooter with the wicked kick or loud bark of a shotgun. At her size, it is impossible for Ava to pull back a compound bow with the draw weight necessary to effectively hunt turkeys.
It is rare for a hunter to get their start without the help of a mentor. Ava is in good hands in that category. Dan Ellyson is Ava’s dad and mentor. Dan is a co-owner of A1 Archery in Hudson, Wisconsin and a seasoned archery veteran. Ava and Dan spent several hours practicing before leaving for Nebraska in early May. The father-daughter duo came home empty handed from their first trip to the Cornhusker State. But there would be another chance.
Ava and Dan were back in the blind over Memorial Day weekend. They battled rain, wind, and anything else Mother Nature could throw at them. Fortunately, their ground blind kept them sheltered and they continued to hunt. Hen after hen visited the decoys but gobbler sightings were in light supply. Ava kept focus by aiming her Parker Cyclone crossbow at the hens and practicing for the real thing. Her father is an accomplished hunter, but Ava doesn’t ride his coattails. She is quite crafty with a pot & peg call. Ava’s hen talk is as good as any I’ve heard.
On the final afternoon of the hunt, Ava spots a jake behind the blind. Before she can get set for the shot, one jake materializes into several. She waits for the camera operator to get the birds in frame as if she is an old pro. Once the OK is given, Ava taps the trigger and her first turkey is moments away from expiring. Forty hours in the blind and countless more on the range pays off. Not only does Ava have her first turkey, she has the video to prove it.