Michigan Sportsman Forum banner
1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,814 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My two boys that are of hunting age have really begun to develop a taste for turkey hunting. In April they both proclaimed it to be their favorite season (although I suspect that when goose season opens that will once again be their "favorite", and then deer, and then .....:D)

When I take them turkey hunting they basically are dealing with two competing forces. On the negative side, their Dad is a turkey hunting novice. My calling "skills" are suspect at best, and after most of our turkey hunts I find myself being able to easily develop a list of things that we should have done differently. On the positive side, we're hunting some farms that are just thick with turkeys, and the boys have acculated some good overall hunting experiences at a young age. They've been regularly tagging along with me on deer and waterfowl hunts since they were six or seven, and they each had some experience hunting out of state for small game and deer before they were even old enough to begin hunting in Michigan. When they have a shot opportunity, they're usually pretty good at closing the deal, if I do so say myself (as I strain to congratulate and vigorously pat myself on the back for having taught them so well :lol:)

Our season began on Tuesday, April 24th. We were hunting on my dad's farm in Eaton County. My 13 year old son killed his first bird, a jake. His 10 year old brother was along on the hunt, and it was a time of great excitement and rejoicing for the three of us. This was the first time that he's bagged anything while hunting on his grandpa's farm, which made it especially meaningful to me.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,423 Posts
Great story. Congrats on the success. It could be the angle, but that bird looks an awful lot like a hen, especially the head and the brown coloring?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,814 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
My 10 year old son and I went out for an evening hunt on Thursday the 26th. We set up along a field edge in Calhoun County, and for the final 90 minutes of shooting hours we watched a group of 3 toms and 6 hens parade back and forth in front of us, never getting any closer than 40 yards. My son was using a .410, and our distance limit was 20 yards. With less than 3 minutes remaining before the end of shooting hours the hens had all exited the field, and the three toms were coming our direction. One stopped at 20 yards, but like a dummy I whispered to my son to wait for the next tom to come by because that bird was tracking as if he was going to come by at only 10-12 yards (May I also confess that the second tom had a big paintbrush thick beard, and I was kind of excited about having that one ride home in the back of the truck?). Anyway, the moment that I whispered to him to wait for the second bird, that bird turned and started walking away to scuffle with the third tom. This was the point where I lost my composure and began to whisper to him "Hurry! Hurry! Shoot the other one before it walks away also! Hurry!" Just in case it's not clear, instructing a 10 year old to hurry his shot is not a good idea. Sure enough, my son shot, the bird ran away, and the hunt was over. On the drive home I kept thinking "What type of dummy gets so panicky that he rattles the nerves of his calm 10 year old son? It was as if we had reversed roles, with me exhibiting the self control of a 10 year old. I was still ticked off at myself the entire next day. That evening I asked him if he was ready to give it another try the next morning, and he excitedly agreed.

The morning of Saturday the 28th dawned with us once again hunting in Calhoun County, this time on a small farm about a 1/2 mile from the previous hunt. Around 7am I noticed two toms about 80 yards away, and they were walking towards us at a steady pace. The fact that they were coming towards us is a good thing, as it eliminated the possibility of me screwing up a calling sequence. As the first tom got closer I noticed that he was walking with a slight limp, and several feathers in his fan were dragging on the ground behind him. Yep - you guessed it - it was the same bird that my son shot at Thursday night. Turns out that it wasn't a clean miss, and he was a little worse for wear from the experience. On this hunt my son had brought his brother's 20 gauge, and as the tom came to a stop at 20 yards I whispered to my son to take his time and shoot. He already had taken aim, so a few seconds later he fired a shot. Missed!

The gun's a semi automatic, but I have a rule with him that I only permit him to use one shell at a time. I'm attempting to get him to place value on making the first shot count. After the shot the two toms began to walk around but didn't run away. My son handed me the gun so that I could reload it. I stuffed another shell in and handed it back to him. As the birds shuffled around the other tom moved into range. In an attempt to keep my son calm and avoid the blunders of the previous hunt, I slowly whispered to him, "Take your time, aim closely, and kill the one that's closest to us". While he was aiming I was praying. He fired the shot and the bird dropped.
If you were anywhere in the Marshall/Olivet area that morning, and you heard some loud shouting, that was us:).

His tom had a 9 1/2 inch beard and 1 inch spurs. Ebowhunter is putting the fan and beard on a plaque for us.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,814 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
You would have gotten a kick out of watching my son run out to get his bird, and then half carry/half drag it back to where we had shot it from. Good thing for adrenaline, as it's taking everything he's got to lift it up for this picture.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,814 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I went out this morning and got set up in my tent blind around 5:30. The gobbling started in earnest around 5:50. At 6:35 two toms and four hens entered the field 100 yards away, fed for a few minutes, and then walked right to me as if they were on a string. This tom stopped stopped at 25 yards, and that was all she wrote. 9 inch beard and 3/4 inch spurs.

Here's my youngest son admiring the bird:

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,021 Posts
Chuckinduck, The first pic is not a hen, the tail/fan coloration is no doubt a jake.

November Sunrise, A hearty congratulations! I think it is just awesome you had some great hunts with your sons.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,814 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
chuckinduck said:
Great story. Congrats on the success. It could be the angle, but that bird looks an awful lot like a hen, especially the head and the brown coloring?
:lol: - I'm laughing at your question, because I have to confess that the minute I saw the short beard I just automatically declared it to be a jake. None of us thought twice about it, as it never would have occurred to me that it could be a bearded hen (I was not exaggerating when I previously referred to myself as a novice). As I look at the other picture you now have me wondering as well.

Here's the best I could do with a close up. What do you think, jake or bearded hen? If it's any help in determining, the spurs were just tiny little nubs.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,814 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
EdB said:
Chuckinduck, The first pic is not a hen, the tail/fan coloration is no doubt a jake.
Well, that's good to know. That must mean I'm not as dumb as I look:lol:.

Thanks for the words of congratulations EdB.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,423 Posts
Yah, I wasn't trying to stir the pot, but the coloring on the back and the head looked more like a hen then a jake. The second picture looks more like a jake then the first, but the head still seems small. Either way, you're in the clear, as it does have a beard.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26,740 Posts
Congrats to you all November. I was talking to Farmer Dave the other night and he had said you guys got some turkeys.
BTW, just when you think you have turkeys figured out, they will turn you into a novice again.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
31,080 Posts
Great story NS. Tell the boys congrats. I always enjoy your accounts of time in the field with your boys, it's priceless.
BTW, My youngest son's first bird was a bearded hen (ugly as all heck) and after I took it to the taxi for a fan mount I was doing some work around the house and got to wondering if it could have possibly been a hen. Well I went to the garage and pulled the carcass out of the trash and began my outopsy. Low and behold I pulled a fully developed egg from her body cavity.
Oh and another thing...I consider myself a fairly accomplished turkey hunter and I missed a big boy cleanly at 15 paces on Saturday morning.
Big T
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,814 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
FREEPOP said:
Congrats to you all November. I was talking to Farmer Dave the other night and he had said you guys got some turkeys.
BTW, just when you think you have turkeys figured out, they will turn you into a novice again.
I can assure you that I'm not laboring under any illusions of expertise :lol:.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,814 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
QDMAMAN said:
Great story NS. Tell the boys congrats. I always enjoy your accounts of time in the field with your boys, it's priceless.
BTW, My youngest son's first bird was a bearded hen (ugly as all heck) and after I took it to the taxi for a fan mount I was doing some work around the house and got to wondering if it could have possibly been a hen. Well I went to the garage and pulled the carcass out of the trash and began my outopsy. Low and behold I pulled a fully developed egg from her body cavity.
Oh and another thing...I consider myself a fairly accomplished turkey hunter and I missed a big boy cleanly at 15 paces on Saturday morning.
Big T
I'll definitely pass on your congratulations to the boys. They are big fans of yours, so your words of congratulations will mean a lot. You are, to them, THE QDMAMAN:)!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
807 Posts
Congrats and thanks for sharing the pictures and story.
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
Top