Early turkey season success and a thirst for more
I was fortunate enough to take a jake in the early portion of the 2017 turkey season. But, like so many of us, I was eager to get a chance at a nice, mature gobbler. I had been planning a hunt with a good friend of mine in Peterborough, Ontario. When the chance came up, I loaded up the truck and headed west to meet up with him. Our plan was to scout Friday night to try and find the tom we would want to chase.
The game plan and an unexpected visitor
We found some birds and where they were going to roost for the night. We set a game plan up from there. On Saturday morning, we made our way into our spot in between a cow pasture and corn field where we knew the birds had gone to roost. The woods were loud with gobbles from the roost as the sun started to break on the horizon. But, two coyotes decided to make an appearance and attack our hen decoy.
We started to get nervous the birds might have spooked. About 30 minutes later a young jake and mature tom came on a rope down the edge of the corn field to our set up. But, they stopped just shy of in range and decided to head back to the flock of about 12 turkeys. Once again, our hearts sank. But, I think that’s why so many of us love the thrills of hunting.
One more shot and an N1 Moment
After a short discussion, we decided to crawl back, jump the fence and put a spot and stalk on the birds, as I only had limited time to hunt that day. We made a mad dash through the woods on the bottom end of the cow pasture, through thick cover, for about 120 yards before crawling the final 60 straight up a hill to the corner of the corn field where we thought the birds would be. As I crawled to the cedar rail fence and slowly moved the grass to take a look, we were RIGHT ON TOP of the birds! I had 4 hens less than 10 yards and three toms at 25. I raised up the barrel of my 12-Gauge Benelli Supernova and let a 3-1/2″ Winchester longbeard shell fly. At 25 yards laid my turkey, a great tom with a 10″ beard and 1″ hooks. It was a successful hunt with ups and downs, but the best part was adding memories with a great friend in the field.
– By Cody Price
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This was my first season of turkey hunting. Well, any kind of hunting, really. I’ve been elk, antelope and whitetail hunting with my boyfriend, but I never actively participated. It was always more like camping to me.
I had tons of butterflies in my stomach the night before. My alarm was set for 3:30 am (way earlier than I have ever woken up for fishing). We layered up our camo, loaded up the truck with our gear, and headed east. We were lucky enough to get access and permission to hunt a small piece of private land along the river bottom of the Arkansas River. After a short drive we arrived at our “home base location,” gathered everything up and started hiking in to were we would set up. I was going to try to bag my first turkey.
The toms speak up
After we were all set up and situated, we still had about 40 minutes before the sun came up. I could see the turkeys still up in their roost for the night, and I didn’t have to wait long before they started gobbling and yelping. I had never heard a wild turkey gobble like that so close, so it was an amazing and unforgettable experience. After about 20 minutes of listening to them, I watched them start to fly down from their roost. I was getting more and more excited after watching nearly 30 wild turkeys fly down and in our area.
We could see at least three big toms and ten or more jakes. They started heading out away from us, but with our decoys and great calling from my boyfriend, they became interested and headed back our direction. It took them another five minutes (seemed like another hour) to mosey along our way, and get within my shooting range. I raised my shotgun, found a jake, took a breath and pulled the trigger.
BANG! My first turkey down! I will never forget that day!
– By Lindsay Smith
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It’s in the blood
Hunting is a deep tradition that my father started with me. When my son was born, I hoped that he would have the same passion I did for the outdoors. It didn’t take long to figure out that his passion may be stronger than mine. At age 3, he started going on hunts with me and immediately loved it. The first few trips were short. He, spent more time playing and eating snacks, but always asked questions about hunting.
First Deer: 6 years, 6 points
On an October afternoon in 2014, at the age of 6, his passion came to the forefront when he shot his first deer. It was a 6-point that came into a food plot. I whispered in his ear all the things I had taught him as he prepared to take the shot. He looked up with a nervous look and said, “when he turns like you told me I’m going to shoot him.” At 50 yards, the buck turned broadside and my son settled in and took the shot. Before I could even process what had happened, he was running out of the blind screaming with excitement about shooting his first deer.
I couldn’t quit smiling, and I was crying at the same time. It was the smile on his face and the excitement in his eyes. It was the way he told the story over and over to everyone we called that assured me his love for the outdoors was far greater than I ever anticipated it would be. He has since taken a doe and has caught numerous fish, but that day will forever be etched in his memory, as well as mine.
– By Kevin Cantell
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