It’s a pleasure to see our kids enjoy the outdoor lifestyle and reap the benefits of their harvest. Our son, Ezekiel, was able to harvest his first turkey in Mississippi this spring during the youth turkey season. Ezekiel already harvested a whitetail deer previously, and this year harvesting a turkey was on his agenda. We like to pattern our shotguns and let our kids practice shooting turkey targets with the gun they will use on the hunt. It’s a great way to prepare them for the real deal.
On this hunt we were set up with our son, Ezekiel, in a ground blind before sunrise. We started off with some soft purrs and yelps in hopes of catching a lonely gobbler’s attention. There was not a lot of action towards the start of the hunt, so we became a little more aggressive with our calling. However, to our surprise, we entered a calling battle in the middle of two flocks of hens. Whatever calls the hens threw at us, we fired right back! A few moments later, we heard long beards gobbling to our calls in the distance. We knew at that point it was a great chance the long beards would make their way to us. Our decoy setup included a jake and one hen. Eventually a flock of hens then made their way to our setup first. While the hens were hanging out by our setup, two longbeards appeared to our left inside the wood line watching from a distance of approximately 25 yards. Moving slowly and carefully, Ezekiel got in position to take a shot on one of the long beards. As critical seconds passed, there was no shot from Ezekiel. Ezekiel couldn’t get situated for the shot. The hens sensed something wasn’t right and started walking off. The long beards were no longer in range for a shot. The moment of truth had passed by for Ezekiel, and you could see the disappointment on his face.
We decided to be patient and wait it out for another 1 ½ hours hoping for another chance. We did some soft purrs and clucks, followed by a few yelps with the diaphragm call. After about 45 min to 1 hour, another group of hens came to our set up. Immediately behind the hens, a long beard in full strut and fanned out made his grand entrance. We couldn’t believe our eyes! Ezekiel got set up in position, and his demeanor showed us that he meant business this time! “Boom!” Ezekiel took the shot and down went the long beard followed by a series of high fives and celebration! It was such an exciting moment! The smile on Ezekiel’s face was priceless! This was a great lesson of patience and redemption all in the same hunt. It may not always happen as planned, but if you stick with it and never give up, anything is possible.
Henry and Lakeisha Woodard