Introducing a fidgety and somewhat impatient almost teenager to hunting can be tough. But not on this morning! Opening Day of North Carolina Youth Turkey Season 2021 turned out to be a quick one for Scott and Seth. Keep reading to go along for the journey with them as Seth is on his first ever turkey hunt.
There is nothing like stepping into the woods and enjoying God’s creation.
April 3, 2021, was opening day of youth turkey season here in North Carolina, and my son Seth was itching to go turkey hunting for the first time. Seth was 11 years old, and, like most kids that age, had some difficulty sitting still and being quiet. So we opted to hunt from a ground blind - that way we could move around a little and talk to one another.
Earlier in the week we had set up a Rhino 3-person ground blind that we could slip into quietly before first light.
I knew the turkeys were going to be close to the river on this 100-acre piece of property, so we set up on a ridge top with the goal of calling one to us off the roost. That morning it just so happened to be around 32 degrees, so we climbed into the blind with a Buddy heater and waited (somewhat) patiently, hoping to hear that first gobble.
Seth had my Remington 870 20-gauge with an HS Strut Undertaker Choke Tube resting on a shooting stick, and I could see him beginning to tremble a little as “turkey fever” was setting in. We heard the gobbler fly down, and I let out a few soft yelps to entice him our way.
His gobble was so loud I think both of us almost jumped out of our seats. It was easy to tell this tom was getting closer to us, so I whispered to Seth, "Get ready, and take the first shot you feel comfortable with." At least that calm whisper is how I remember it.
The big Tom never made another sound except light footsteps in the leaves as he strutted into view from our left. He slowly but steadily, for what seemed to take forever, but also no time at all, moved closer and closer toward the hen decoy we put out before daylight.
Now I was getting a little trembly and kept whispering to Seth, “shoot, shoot, SHOOT!”
We got out of the blind as quickly as we could and rushed over to the big gobbler about 20 steps away. Seth was still shaking as he squatted down to check out the beard and fan. We high-fived, hugged, fist pumped, and just enjoyed the moment.
Pictures were taken, and phone calls were made before Seth put the bird over his shoulder and walked up the old roadbed.
The story of Seth’s first turkey hunt has now been told a number of times over the last two years, and I have no doubts he will be a turkey hunter for life. We’ve hunted many times since then and have had some close calls.
Even though he hasn't put another one on the ground yet, the best part for me, by far, has been spending quality time with my son and letting him learn how to enjoy the outdoors.
If you have children, I would highly suggest taking them hunting or at least making them a part of the process.
If you don’t have kids, find someone who is interested in hunting, and take them instead. I rarely go to the woods now without one of my kids, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Let’s make sure we are doing our part to share our passion for the outdoors and the One who created it with others.
Scott is an avid hunter and fisherman who loves spending time outdoors in God's creation. Most of all, he loves taking his two children along with him and introducing them into the great outdoors!
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