Our Special Day
“Dad, this is a day to remember”
It was the opening day of the 2008 Kentucky Youth Season and Jacob, my 8 year old son and I decided we would go to the woods. We hadn’t planned to go, but we thought it would be fun to spend some time in the woods together. We didn’t get up early and wasn’t in any rush, so it was late morning before we left. We started with a good breakfast and then it was time to gather everything for the hunt. Jacob and I put on our camouflage and I was getting our Pretty Boy decoy and Jacob’s gun out of the safe. When I started to load the truck, Jacob had a camo dump truck and a knife that Papaw had given him that he insisted we take.
The truck was to be for us to play with if we got bored. So off we went. We were going to my uncle’s farm in Muhlenburg County about an hour away. We arrived around 11:30 a.m and started to unload the truck. I carried the decoys, blind, and gun while Jacob carried the good luck truck. When we found the spot where we wanted to hunt, I set up the pop-up blind and then we set out our decoys. After settling in for a wait, I started to call. At first there was nothing responding. Jacob started to get a little bored so he found a rock on the ground and decided to sharpen his knife. It worked pretty well for awhile then he had to play with his truck for a little bit. The whole time, I was continuing to call about every ten to fifteen minutes. Finally, we had a bird to respond to the calling with a single gobble at around 1:15 p.m. It was up on top of a ridge about 75 to 100 yards away.
I would call and he would gobble. I then stopped calling so he would come to me and all of a sudden I could see him. He was standing at the top of the ridge and I could see him through the clear wood line. I then called again, and to my surprise, two birds answered. I could see them coming down the hill towards our decoy spread. This was going to happen fast and I was in a panic to get Jacob in position to shoot. We had a Pretty Boy and girl decoy set out about 25 yards from us at the edge of the wood line. The birds were coming fast and gobbling every time I made a call. I was getting Jacob in the chair and preparing him for a shot. I told him to get his shooting stick and ease the gun out the window towards the decoys. I was more excited than if it were me going to shoot. I told him that there were two birds and to only pick one and stay with it.
All of a sudden he could see them in the woods and watched them gobble. “That’s awesome” he said. I was telling him to get ready to shoot and asked him if he needed any help. I was making more noise and moving around more than he was. He responded by saying, “Calm down Dad, I’ve got this.” He had never experienced this before and didn’t have a clue what was happening. I knew how awesome this was, but he was just to calm. He was ready and I guess I was too. Then it happened, the birds saw the decoys and started to run through the woods to the open field. I had positioned Pretty Boy in front of our Ameristep blind and he was really upsetting to two toms. They broke into the field and started after him.
They circled Pretty Boy and girl several times and I told Jacob to pick one and aim right below his head. He was ready and I told him to take the gun safety off and when he was ready, to shoot. He said he was ready and going to shoot and I was a nervous wreck. He aimed his Charles Daly Youth Model Semi-Auto 20 gauge right at the Tom and then he shot. The turkey flipped back and flopped just a little. It was a perfect shot and I went crazy. I took the gun from him and his shoulder was stunned a little bit. Then I climbed out of the blind and started jumping up and down and high fiving Jacob. I picked him up and hugged him so tight I may have hurt him, but I was pumped. He didn’t seem that excited and told me I was acting like a crazy person. Then when he realized his shoulder was okay and saw his turkey, he got excited. It was his first ever turkey and I was blessed to be with him. It was a huge 23lb. Tom with a 10” beard and 1” spurs. What a Bird!!! We took several pictures and had a big celebration. When we made back to the truck, Jacob said “Dad, this is a day to remember”. It was a great way for a father and son to spend time with each other and enjoy what we will remember as “Our Special Day.”