Last year, during our local National Wild Turkey Federation Banquet, I gave a short program on turkey calling, and then answered questions about calling and hunting. Afterwards, a gentleman asked me if I would be interested in guiding some kids on their first turkey hunt as part of the NWTF's Jakes Program. I volunteered enthusiastically.
I would guide two boys, Jacob and Ben. The hunt was scheduled April 12-13 on property owned by James & Debbie McCurter. As the date grew closer, I grew a little concerned that I might not be the best guide for these two youngsters. It would be my first time guiding kids.
Jacob's hunt would take place the first day. The evening before opening morning, I took the boys out to see if we could roost a bird. We put several birds to bed but could not make one gobble.
In the morning, Jacob and I, accompanied by James McCurter who carried a video camera to record the hunt, went to an area where turkeys like to strut after flying down. Turkeys were already gobbling on the roost when we arrived, but after flydown, they went silent.
After we moved to another area, I began to yelp, but a bird gobbled close and cut me off. We were trying to get to a saddle ahead of the gobbler when a hen started yelping. There is no better place to be than between a live hen and a gobbling tom. So we stopped.
Jacob ended up with a close encounter with the hen. She would have run right past us to the gobbler had I not chased her away. I tried to cover her noisy retreat with some clucking and yelping. The gobbler didn't seem to notice. He just kept right on gobbling.
I called to that gobbler for about an hour, but he wouldn't come any closer. We decided to move again, but first we returned to the cabin for a late breakfast. By the time we got back into the woods, it was 12:30. Time was running out.
We eased down a logging road that snakes down a steep ridge into a long, narrow bottom that contained a large food plot. When we reached the food plot, three big