A moment that will not be forgotten
The Minnesota spring turkey season opened on Wednesday and it was a day filled with many memories for many turkey hunters around the state!
My son Mac and I woke around 4:30 a.m., dressed up in black and gathered our gobbler hunting garb. The snow had just started coming down and the plan was to head into the woods for an hour or so before dropping Mac off at school. The plan was in place and the prayers were presented.
As we headed west, the snow became more measurable and by the time we reached our destination it was coming down pretty good (or bad). I put the blind on Mac’s back, grabbed the Mr. Heater, his 20-gauge Mossberg, a couple chairs, two decoys and the rest of our morning accessories (including our make-up).
We got the blind situated out of the wind and snow, turned on Mr. Heater and set the hen and the “Funky Chicken” jake decoys. Shooting time was around 6 a.m. and Mac was asking if he could start calling. I knew there were birds around but didn’t know where they had been roosting, so I figured we would wait until 6:15 a.m. before we sounded off.
Between the snow on the ground and the breaking of dawn, it was time to make some noise! Mac picked up his slate call and striker and made the initial series of yelps. Immediately, we had a gobble and both of us looked at each other in semi disbelief! He was so close; I couldn’t believe we didn’t spook him as we walked to our blind location. Maybe he thought we were deer, hard to say. Or, maybe it was the fact that he had his head turned away from the snow and blowing northwest wind. Whatever the case, we were both excited and quite optimistic!
I had Mac take his gun off safety because we know what can happen sometimes when Mr. Turkey gets excited. We waited, watched and called a little more. He would gobble quite frequently and we had a little cat-and-mouse going on. He didn’t sound any further than 150 yards from us, so we were ready.
The first birds we saw were hens, two of them. This made me nervous, thinking the “real deal” would lure the gobbler away from us. They pressed on to the west and he continued to gobble, sounding as if he were still on roost. His gobbles picked up in frequency and soon after he appeared. I put the binoculars on him and noticed a small beard poking out of his chest. Another hen appeared right around that same time and I was hoping that the gobbler wouldn’t stick too tight to her. She moseyed on, looking at us and at one point I thought she was going to come over, but she pressed on, too.
The jake (a young male turkey) kept looking in our direction and I am sure he was wondering why we weren’t going to him (he would soon find out why). There was a fence between us and the bird and he kept looking our direction, but following the fence line to the west. He was out of range, but there was an opening in the fence and when he got to that point he looked back as I was talking to him with my diaphragm call. He stared for a while and then made the mistake! He made the turn back to the east and towards our pair of what looked to be breeding turkeys. The “Funky Chicken” is a wimpy looking decoy that about any male turkey could handle, and this approaching jake started to show his stuff. Puffing in and out of strut and acting like a tough guy. Mac poked his barrel out of the blind, peered over the window and spotted Mr. Jake.
Boom, eject, boom! Turkey down!
Mac’s first turkey and a morning that will never be forgotten. Get out there with the kids and experience one of the best sports on earth!