Kids Outdoor Outpost – April 2021

Joe Schuster | April 4, 2021

The Tradition Continues

A father reaches out to gently shake his son awake. The boy has never been up this early before and struggles to get out of bed. He spent time the night before to lay out his camo hand-me downs from his older brother. His dad helps him lace his boots and then opens the truck door to begin the adventure.

Dad gets his turkey vest, opens the action of the shotgun to confirm it’s clear and loads it into his gun case. They picked out a new decoy for this season and are anxious to see if it will work. He also grabs a cooler with lunch, snacks and some water to place in the back seat. They slowly back down the driveway, and the son settles in to the warmth of the truck. He dozes off, so it seems like only a few minutes later when they pull to the front gate of the hunting camp.

Dad hops out, opens the gate, drives through and then locks it back up. They drive down an old logging road and then pull off to one side, easing out with gear and gun. It’s still dark. They both turn on their headlamps to begin the long walk to the area where they had scouted right after deer season ended. The winter woods looked quite barren back then, but they did manage to find some turkey scat and some scratching, a pretty good sign that birds were in the area. The little boy also noticed an area that was quite tore up, but the elder explained that it was more than likely hog sign.

The boots crunched in the leftover winter leaves as they plodded on for another half hour before arriving at their listening spot.

As the dawn begin to arrive, they heard the first talk of the morning, a hen yelp in the distance. Dad had at least gotten them to a promising area. Those early yelps soon triggered a series of gobbles off the roost. Dad slid off his turkey vest and took out the new decoy. Setting it up in position, they eased back about 35 yards and picked out two wide trees to lean against.

The boy was told not to move once in position, but a large root and at least several rocks felt like they were digging into his backside. The turkey vest cushion was no match for these obstructions. He did the best that he could for as long as he could.

Dad smoothly worked a slate call with some purrs and yelps, trying to entice the gobbler. They had heard him gobble a few times but went silent once he landed. His dad told him during the scouting trip that this exact scenario would probably happen, but he assured the son that the longbeard was well aware of the location of the calling. As if by magic, the boy made out the red head of a gobbler in the distance in front of him. He adjusted his legs that were falling numb and asleep to get a better view. He had no idea that a different gobbler, one that had never gobbled, was walking in from behind just a few yards away. Once he shuffled his legs, the longbeard ran away with putting sounds to alert any other bird within several hundred yards of their presence.

The dad patted his young son on the shoulder and told him that it was a great hunt and that there would always be more birds and additional opportunities. As they walked back to the truck, his dejection was eased with the lunch in the cooler and the hope of another morning in the turkey woods.

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