North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

A Father and Son Turkey-Hunting Experience

Author: NCWRC blogger/Friday, April 10, 2015/Categories: Blog, Hunting

Here’s a photo of my 12-year-old son Cody and his first turkey.  Cody and I went turkey hunting in Nash County on opening day of Youth-Only Turkey Season last Saturday (April 4) just outside of Nashville, N.C. We were hunting on a 300-acre farm we leased through Hunt NC Farmland Program of the NCDA&CS.

I scouted the property a few days earlier for turkeys just before season opened and with the owner’s information and help, I learned the loose patterns of the turkeys wanderings on the farm.

Cody and I made a plan for opening morning and I patterned his gun a few days before. On opening morning, we gathered our gear — tent-style blind, two turkey decoys, two chairs, snacks, water, calls, shotgun, etc. Then, we walked in with all of this on our backs through the pastures to the spot we wanted to hunt. But, we saw it was full of cows that morning, so we changed plans and started to another spot further down the pastures. The cows then decided to get up and stamped their hooves at us to cut us off!

So, we stopped and turned back, but the cows came back too! I figured, “They don’t like us in the dark, and they are spooked.”

So I had nothing to lose due to bellowing cows and calves and the thundering of hooves back and forth. I decided to take out my flashlight and wave it at the cows and flashed it a few times. Off they went down the pasture in the dark!

Cody and I then walked back to our original spot with the sun rising already. We were feeling late! We quickly set up the blind, put out decoys, got in the blind, discussed shooting lanes, and how to move due to the windy morning. (I was telling Code, “Move when the wind blows, so you look natural.”) I also covered how to communicate with Cody without talking by using “hand taps” on his arm so not to make any noise.

We waited about 10 minutes. It was now about 6:40 a.m. I then called with a push pin call, slate call and aluminum slate call using purrs, clucks and yelps best I could.

Cody fell asleep in the chair. We had been up since 4 a.m., so I watched and waited. A little after 7 o’clock, I called again the same way as before. Five minutes might have passed when a Tom walked right up the hill from the opposite side of us behind the decoys and went into full strut on the decoys!

I nudged Cody awake and whispered, “Tom between decoys. Take him.”

Cody moved with the wind. Then, it stopped blowing, so he stopped moving, just as I had told him. It gusted up again and he leveled out his shotgun and aimed. The Tom jerked his head a bit left and right in full strut then “Boom!” Over and down the Tom went.

We sat I patted Cody’s back and said, “Good job and congratulations on your first turkey!”

It was just 7:35 a.m. and we had already accomplished our goal! We admired the big gobbler and took lots of pictures! We then broke down the blind, packed up the decoys and loaded our backpacks, plus one turkey.

We stopped at the landowner’s house to “show & tell.” They requested we do this anytime we take game off the farm. They were pleased and happy for Cody and weighed the turkey for him. It was 23 pounds! We were home by 11:30 and exhausted from the long morning and excitement. But Cody and I both agreed it was a great day!


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