John's Journal...

Cristie Gates - Benelliís Lady with a Gun

Turkey Hunting - A Huge Adrenaline Rush

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Cristie Gates of Accokeek, Maryland, media and exhibit manager at Benelli U.S.A., recently took her first turkey with the new Benelli Vinci, a semi-autoloading shotgun. This week, Gates will tell us about her hunt, the new Vinci and the many opportunities for women in the hunting industry.

Question: Cristie, how was your hunt?
Gates: On the second afternoon of my hunt in Sayre, Oklahoma, with Rut ‘n’ Strut Outfitters, I was hunting with Rick White, a member of the Benelli and Hunter’s Specialties’ pro staff teams. We hunted on the edge of a pasture, and we saw large numbers of turkeys moviClick to enlargeng back and forth across the pasture to feed on some of the wheat and grass that the farmer had put out for his cattle. Late in the afternoon, when we were losing light, the turkeys decided to leave the pasture and head to the roost. As Rick began calling, one gobbler came toward us. Rick was giving excited yelps, cuts and cackles and reallyfired-up that gobbler. He walked down the edge of a fence line, when suddenly, he turned right to us. He turned quickly and began strutting away from us. When Rick called again, those Hunter’s Specialties’ calls spun that turkey around, and the bird came strutting right to us. The gobbler had his head tucked back into his feathers in full strut, not presenting much of a target. When Rick cut to him, the gobbler stuck his head up and presented the shot.

Question: What were you feeling when that big gobbler was spitting, drumming and strutting right out in front of you at less than 40 yards?
Gates: Oh, my gosh! My heart was in my throat. I had butterflies, and I could hear my heart pounding like a drum. As I looked through my Burris Red Dot Scope, that small red dot looked as big as a garbage-can lid. I put that red dot at the base of the turkey’s neck, and when I squeezed the trigger, I saw the big gobbler fall over. I got really excited. Rick jumped-up and ran  toward the turkey. Then, Click to enlargesuddenly he realized other turkeys were in the field, and we could take two turkeys in one day. Rick quickly sat back down and started calling to the other gobblers. Of course, the turkeys had seen him and started moving off to the roost.

Question:Click to enlarge Cristie, this was the first turkey you’ve taken, and you took it with Benelli’s new Vinci. What did you think about turkey hunting?
Gates: I really enjoyed the show – seeing the gobblers strut, drum and perform for the hens. I got very excited when I saw that turkey strutting in front of hens, showing those lady turkeys how big and handsome he was.

Question: How intense was the hunt, the minute before you took the shot?
Gates: I was gritting my teeth and holding onto the Vinci, praying I could make the shot. I had a huge adrenaline rush before I took the shot. When I took the shot and saw the turkey go down, I felt like a balloon that had had all the air let out of it. The weight of the world seemed to slide off my shoulders, when I realized I’d taken my first turkey.

To learn more about Benelli’s Vinci, go to

Tomorrow: From the Farm to South Africa

Check back each day this week for more about "Cristie Gates - Benelliís Lady with a Gun"

Day 1: Turkey Hunting - A Huge Adrenaline Rush
Day 2: From the Farm to South Africa
Day 3: A Lady in the Hunting Industry
Day 4: Benelli Knocks the Kick Out of Recoil
Day 5: Benelli and Gates 10-Years from Now


Entry 505, Day 1