Youth Hunt

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Published on: Jan. 2, 2005

Last revision: Nov. 17, 2010

gobblers on the other side of the food plot--not more than 40 yards away--just kind of faded into the woods.

James McCurter said he thought he knew where those birds were going. We moved quickly and got into position. We hoped we could intercept them before time expired.

I staked out a jake decoy and told Jacob to sit in a spot where he could see the area from which we hoped the birds would approach. My first series of yelps did not get a response, so I launched into a second series. Birds behind and a little above us responded. We adjusted our setup to face their direction, and I called again. When they gobbled, I knew they were coming.

James hid in a fallen treetop and had the camera ready. He held up three fingers and whispered that three birds were coming. I saw the birds about the same time and told Jacob to look over Mr. McCurter's head.

"Oh my gosh, I see them!" he whispered.

"Don't shoot until I tell you to," I commanded. I helped him move the gun barrel to a point past the end of the treetop, well away from our cameraman and host. "They have to clear the treetop by at least that much before you can shoot," I told Jacob.

As we waited, I reminded him to aim at the red stuff on the bird's neck and to slowly squeeze the trigger when the time came.

The birds hung up near the treetop for a few moments while they looked at the jake decoy. Then they started forward. I told Jake to pick out a bird and click his safety off.

I told him to wait. The bird was getting ready to strut, and I really wanted Jacob to see it. He puffed into a strut right in front of Jake's gun barrel,

"OK, Jake, shoot him," I said. I think I may have gotten the "shoo" part out when his shotgun barked. At 12 yards lay Jake's first turkey. I pulled Jake's face mask down, took his shotgun and clicked the safety back on. I congratulated him and yelled, "Go get your bird!"

Jake stood up, took three steps and fell to his knees.

"My legs won't work!"

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