By Rich Miller
Believe it or not, opening day of turkey season finally got here! Just like every other year, I had a sleepless night and was wide awake and ready to roll when the alarm went off.
My Dad had plans to go fishing this year so we weren’t going to hunt together on opening day like we have been doing for years. I don’t know what got into him to want to go catch a fish instead of go turkey hunting!
Since he had other plans, I made plans to go with my cousin, Greg, and maybe we could double up on the season opener. The birds started gobbling about 7am and they gobbled until about 10 and then they shut up. We had 11 jakes at our Bob’n Tail Tom decoy at one time, but never saw a long beard all morning. We could hear them but we just couldn’t get them to leave them hens.
After lunch, my little boy got out of school and the first thing he did was call me and say that he was ready to go turkey hunting. We had gone the Saturday before for the youth hunt, and struck out, but he was ready to get back after them. It was about 2:30 when we headed to the blind that I had already set up for us in a food plot. He did a good job sneaking in and not making too muck noise getting there. When we got in the blind and got it zipped up, I turned around to tell Tye something and the Good Lord must have been looking out for us because two hens and two jakes came walking into the food plot!
To explain this a little bit, all Tye can talk about is hunting - whether it is deer or turkey - and he knew that turkey season was opening. For the last couple of months, we had been practicing with a gun that I got when I was a kid. It’s a .410 single shot that is cut down for a kid. I used it growing up, then one of my good friend’s son used it to kill his first turkey, my nephew used it to get his first turkey, and now Tye is using it. Now Tye will turn 4 in May and he is still a little small to shoot it by himself. So we have went through several boxes of shells to get our process down pat. He stands in a chair and I stand up to hold the front and the butt of the gun while he leans over to look down the barrel to aim and squeeze the trigger. I just help him hold it up and he does the rest. With all the practice he had been doing, I felt like if we could get one inside 20-yards we would be in the money.
When the turkeys came in the food plot, we didn’t have anything ready and they were already headed to our hen decoy. The way they came in they were looking straight into the blind so it was a slow process getting setup for the shot. One of the jakes stayed right with the two hens but the other one came over to our decoy, which worked out perfect. As we got the gun up and got it cocked they never really got spooked. I still remember the first turkey I took and it was a long beard but this Jake in front of us had me more torn up than I’ve ever been. I told him whenever he was ready get the bead on his head and let it rip. It didn’t take long and the gun bucked in our hands. As I looked up, the turkey was on the ground trying to get back on his feet. After what seemed like thirty minutes I made it out of the blind and chased the bird down. I think I was in shock because Tye said several times “Daddy, I got a turkey” before I ever responded. We checked him out and I showed him the beard and spurs before we got on the phone to call Mom and all the grandparents.
We ended up with a crowd in the food plot taking pictures and telling how he just smoked his first turkey. That was a pretty quick hunt for us but he had a long hunt the week before during the youth hunt in the cold and rain still didn’t want to go in. I couldn’t have been more happy or proud of how he did with it all. When everyone was talking and laughing in the food plot he told them, he and Dad had to leave and go clean the turkey!
I think I have created a monster now because every time he see’s my camo or hunting gear in the truck he wants to know where I am going. That’s fine with me, though, because I wouldn’t have it any other way!