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HUNTnTAT2

Daughter's first Tom

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A trip I'll never forget!! The season came fast and we spent the last few months preparing for her first spring gobbler hunt. We were shooting weekly and doing everything we could to get her dialed in. I started loading shot shells a few years ago and this past year I dove into the world of loading Tungsten(TSS) Shot. My daughter grew fond of measuring exact grains of powder and ounces of shot. She's a chip off the old block when it comes to attention to detail. Her favorite part was sealing the roll crimped shells with glitter nail polish. We tweaked things till we were satisfied with 50 yard patterns that would stone a turkey. From the very beginning I Involved her in every aspect of the hunt.

Thursday mid day we were loaded up and headed for camp.  Someone was excited to miss some school. We got camp setup with an hour or so left of light. I put out a target at 40 yards to make sure her shotgun was still on. She hit it dead nuts. We spent the rest of the evening trying to roost a bird for opener We were unsuccessful. So I was pretty stressed about opening morning.

Friday morning came with a 3:45am alarm. We were out of camp an hour later. Our first stop to listen and shock call produced a gobble about a mile off. We looped around. By gray light we were in the strut zone. It was a morning we had been dreaming about. Multiple flocks going off. Hens cutting and yelping like I've never heard. Tom's gobbling over each other. We setup in the middle of the action.  I began cutting on the box. Mimicking the hens around us. I called in a tom but he hung up above us at 80 yards. Boy, Did he put on a strut show!! At the same time a hen came running into our setup. She was pissed. She stuck around for about 15 minutes. We were pinned. All we could do was watch the tom strut over the ridge to flocks going off past him. We backed out and tried to cut them off. Ran into another youth hunter already getting setup. We backed out and tried a few more setups not too far away to see if we could call in a satellite tom. No dice. The rest of the day was some well earned naps and burritos. No bird roosted that evening.

Saturday morning my alarm did not go off. I woke up to gray light. We scrambled and got to the same general area as opening day. Immediately Multiple gobbles. We were behind them. We pushed up. We had a satellite tom at 100 yards. I began the spring song. Again my daughter spots him strutting. Working his way towards us. Money in the bag! We got caught in a bad spot. We were lit up. He circled left and as my daughter moved to reposition the shotgun her jacket rubbed the tree loud enough to make the bird get nervous and stop. He started to putt. I purred to calm him down. He came in another 30 yards. But was behind a some small jack pines. The flock started sounding off again and he followed. Decending down into a canyon I wasn't wanting to carry my kid out of. We backed out to get infront of them. We found were they came through the canyon bottom. Fresh scratch and scat. We setup and called. We called in snow and sleet. The rest of the day we spent being tourist and taking pictures at one of my favorite Lookout points in the unit. Screaming and yelling in the canyon to hear our voices echo a dozen times from all directions. She sure did love that. She's a quiet kid so it was amazing to see her let loose and belt out across the giant limestone walls. That evening we spent time in the same area we hunted previously. No birds sounding off back to the roost. My buddy from work was up with us and spent the day at camp while we were shouting at the sky. On the drive back to camp I got a text that 3 gobblers were going off across the road from camp. We ended the night with some coues Backstrap, zucchini and smores on some oak coals. 

Sunday morning, our last stand. The 3 camp gobblers started shaking the skies around 5am. They sounded a little further than we thought they were the night before. We drove around to get in a good position once they flew down. We were setup above 2 of the toms. I yelped softly to get a location on them. They were in our lap but just out of sight. No time to put the decoys out. We hunkered down at the base of some pines. Here they come. Again, my eagle eye kid spot their colored up heads and fans doing the spring shuffle. They are gobbling their heads off!! They are about 120 yard when she spots them. They come in another 30 and start looking. We both were thinking they were gonna hang up since they didn't have a visual on a hen. I started to cluck & purr and softly yelping like I was a hen moving off and Oh man.... they came right on in. Putting on one heck of a show strutting and gobbling. They stayed pretty tight and we needed to wait for a good shot. Once they broke apart I gave one last yelp to stop them and my daughter let him have it!! 48 yards with a .410 tungsten shell we handloaded. He didn't even flop! He dropped like bag of concrete. 

She was so stoked! I was so relieved! She was so darn proud of herself! We made it happen. We worked our tails off. We prepared and it paid off. I can only hope that she carries all the lessons learned with her forever. Man, I balled like a baby on the drive home just thinking about the whole experience. I'll NEVER forget it!!!

 

(posting from my phone. Couldn't figure out how to get the images right side up)IMG_20210418_181729_950.thumb.jpg.614f2968753c15c574fedf96f26816ea.jpg20210418_073038.thumb.jpg.f10b88e47e27856be3faf3716edb0d45.jpg20210418_062219.thumb.jpg.97a03f4ae297383fc158487fda4492a0.jpg20210418_073833(0).thumb.jpg.e5104100af59765de7d1104a3fa96ada.jpg20210417_151332.thumb.jpg.076fa49b784aa5713db60440e2c158d7.jpg

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Fantastic! Thank you for sharing. Lots of good preparation, persistence and that eagle eye of hers got it done, Congrats to you both! The Youth Turkey hunt is one of the best there is, man I miss it. 

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10/10 thread, hunt and experience for you and your family. Congratulations on all accounts!

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HuntnTat2

Those are the coolest pics ive seen on most websites in a long time.

That 1st pic her face says it all. the colors are fantastic. the pic of them sitting on the edge of canyon must be a girl thing, my Daughter had me taking pictures of her on every canyon we saw while hunting together.

Congrats she will remember that hunt for a long long time.

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What a great post. Congrats to all involved! Sounds like one heck of a weekend. Beautiful pictures.

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