The recent TN Youth Turkey Hunt is one that’ll go down as one of the best hunts of all time for my little boy, Aidan, and me. The soggy Sunday morning of the hunt found Aidan trying to kill his first longbeard before the 9:30 church service. Aidan and I doubled on hen turkeys in the fall a few years ago with our bows, but he had never killed a spring gobbler.
Several birds gobbling off the roost just a few hundreds yards away brought big smiles and pounding knuckles to our ground blind. “We may have to go to the 11:o0 church service instead this morning!” Aidan said. We knew we were in exactly the right spot this time. Shortly after flydown, I gave Aidan the box call and told him to pop off a few yelps. “You do it, Dad! I don’t want to mess it up,” he said. I told him that this one was all him. He sounded great on that box call, he just needed the confidence to make it happen on live birds. He stood up in the blind by the window and made a few calls, but nothing responded.
I reminded him that the birds hadn’t made a peep since they flew down, and just because they didn’t respond, didn’t mean they didn’t hear his calls, or like it. And sure enough, a few minutes later, Aidan looked out the window of the blind to see two gobblers coming up the end of the foodplot. “Here come two big black ones!” he said.
The boss bird immediately went into strut when he saw the Flextone hen decoys we had placed 8 yards in front of our blind. The other gobbler fell right in behind the boss coming in to investigate our setup.
We had the video camera and Aidan’s crossbow set up to shoot out one window on the left side of the blind, so we had to wait for the birds to move across in front of us. When the birds finally cleared the window where Aidan could see, I heard him gasp and start breathing fast. He had never experienced a bird in full strut at just 8 yards. “Just keep breathing, son,” I told him as we prepared for the shot.
The strutter kept spinning as he showed off for the decoys, so the directions on where to make the shot kept changing. Finally the bird gave us a frontal shot and Aidan squeezed off the shot from his Mission Sniper-Lite crossbow. His shot smacked the bird right in the noggin’. The flopping lasted only a few seconds, and the bird fell dead right in front of us on camera.
After climbing out of the blind to recover the bird, we discovered that Aidan had killed a double-bearded gobbler. He was pretty proud to accomplish something most turkey hunters will never see or do.
I honestly can’t think of a more exciting turkey hunt that I’ve ever experienced in all my life. And to see my little boy pull it all off like a man made for what will be one of the proudest memories of my life.
Check out the video of Aidan’s hunt here…