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Jacob's First Turkey

AZHunter

Fire Eater
Again, getting caught up after a long hiatus here. Story of my son's first bird from this past April.

We spent opening weekend in and out of toms. My daughter should have been done at 6am Friday morning, but her dad, a supposed turkey hunting veteran, made a rookie (ie, excited dad) mistake. My son was determined to stay the course and today, April 22, 2020, is a day of days. A day I'll long not forget. Jacob decided he wanted another chance at a turkey, so we took off last night packing light for the one night and morning we had available this week. I'm swamped at work, and he's now teaching Taekwondo classes to other kids his age and younger (I love that he's a black belt now). We were in our sleeping bags early and up at 4am this morning. It was cold, but we got dressed, ate breakfast, and made a plan.

As we hiked up Plan A canyon, a bird gobbled over in Plan B canyon. We took off cross country, cutting distance and relocating the bird. That bird turned into what we thought were 3, maybe 4 birds up in front of us. A lone gobbler fired off up above them, followed by a gobble down to our left. Good odds, right? I let them know we were there, and simulated two different hens flying down off roost. That's a new tactic for me, but one I'll definitely be incorporating more. One more gobble and the woods went dead quiet.

We were about to move somewhere else, so we stood up. I gave one call before we walked out to get the decoys, just to see what would happen. The whole flock gobbled at once 50 yards away. We had to scramble to sit back down! The woods got eerily quiet again, and I was figuring they busted us sitting down. "I can see them!", Jacob whispered. Lessons were learned (Friday morning), so I sat back, patiently waiting for the birds to come in directly in front of us. They didn't come directly in front of us, but in from my hard right. I saw two or three sets of legs and then, 10 or 12 total jakes came strutting in and they lit up when they saw the decoys. I was nervous waiting for one to separate away from the group for Jacob. "Shoot when you've got one separated." I purred one more time, heard the shot, and saw the gobbler on the ground! It was 5: 58am. Jacob had his first turkey on the ground. It was a 12-lb jake with a 4-inch beard, and very worn spurs. The coolest part: I used the slate call he built himself last year to call those birds in! "Dad, can you use my homemade call? It would be so cool for you to call in my bird with a call I made myself!" Tell me with a straight face how you say no to that! Those Federal TSS #7s did a job on that jake's neck at 16 yards, but we realized his Weatherby won't cycle those rounds. Its needs 1200fps to cycle rounds, so we've since upgraded to Apex TSS #9s. They cycle great and what a pattern!

We are extremely blessed. 16 years ago this past April, my head was spinning after losing my dad on April 10, 2004, while waiting for my daughter to be born (April 25, 2004). Neither of my kids knew their grandpa and he loved turkey hunting and fishing. A good friend up here has become a grandpa-figure to both my kids and he took us to this spot this weekend. He stopped by the house today to see the bird and hear the whole story after we told part of the story via text. Rubberband Man came on SXM as we got to town. Yes, we rolled down the windows, talked about "Stripes", and cranked it! He's addicted to turkey hunting and I'm an extremely proud dad!

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