For Coon Rapids residents Todd Lindorff and his 14-year-old daughter Payton Lindorff, hunting has grown into a father-daughter bonding experience.
Todd, an avid hunter who also teaches firearm safety classes at the Coon Rapids VFW Post 9625, has seen a steady increase of girls taking part.
Nearly half of the students in each class are girls looking to learn the proper way to handle a firearm with hopes of joining friends and family in the field or tree stand on future hunts.
“The more gun safety [classes] I teach the more girls take part in the class,” he said.
“The last three classes I’ve taught have almost reached 50/50 (boys/girls).
“It’s more of a daughter bonding with dad experience. That’s what they’re looking for and that’s what it is for me and Payton.”
Payton tagged along with her father only a couple years before taking her first turkey last spring.
The bird measured 28 pounds with a 10.5-inch beard and one-inch spurs.
One month later, Payton took her first deer, a spike buck on the same land.
After that first successful turkey hunt, Payton wanted to try again in the fall season and not only matched her total from the spring but added a second turkey on family land near the Kettle River during the fall season in October.
They waited 30 hours in the field before the two jakes to appeared on the 120 acres of land.
Patience in the field is a gift that Payton has and it has paid off, according to Todd.
“She gets her mind set and will sit in the field as long as it takes,” he said.
“She loves being out there. She just wants to be in the woods.”
Payton added, “You just find stuff to look at. There are always rabbits or grouse coming through to keep your attention going.”
Payton was hooked after her first successful hunt, she said.
“Once you get one, you feel really proud of yourself,” Payton said.
“The family bonding time and the family cabin time [is another priority].”
After that success, Payton and her father invited a childhood friend Ellie Steiner and her father Bill Steiner on a spring turkey hunt.
Of course, both girls bagged another big tom turkey.
Payton’s turkey measured 20 pounds with an 8.5-inch beard and one-inch spurs. Ellie’s first-ever turkey measured 22 pounds, 10.5-inch beard and one-inch spurs.
“They were extremely excited,” Todd said about the sizable birds.
With that much fresh turkey, just like the previous season, Todd invited neighbors to enjoy a turkey barbecue.
“We live in a great neighborhood and we’re all close and have a good time,” he said.
Next up is for Payton and Todd is a trek into fowl season.
Jason Olson is at firstname.lastname@example.org