In a hunt that was truly a family event, my 11-year-old son Logan and I hunted my Dad's farm in western Kentucky. Logan was using his other grandfather's 20-gauge Remington 1100.
Saturday morning we woke up at 4:30 to heavy rain and high winds. I told Logan to go back to bed. At least one of us should show good judgment. I saw several birds and four separate toms, none of which cared a bit about my calling or even the hens around them.
Sunday morning, however, the weather was cool for April but calm and the birds were gobbling early. To keep things simple for Logan we hunted from a stationary blind. So when the gobbling stopped after we had heard birds fly down this lack of mobility concerned me a bit. But my occasional working of the slate paid off when a tom came into view about 175 yards off at around 7:45.
I had not heard a gobble in an hour but when I called to him he immediately responded and started looking hard for his possible mate. Because of the birds actions on Saturday I had not put a decoy out for fear that it would cause more harm than good. But, it was now obvious to me that if he could have found sight of a bird he would have been in high gear.
I continued to call and he continued to answer. Steadily he closed the distance. I was afraid a couple of times he was going to go into full strut and wait us out but luckily he continued on.
By about 8:20 he was within 30 yards and still looking for the hen that was calling to him. I was unsure of the killing potential of the 20-gauge and from my angle I was not sure my son had a clear shot so even at his requests of "Can I shoot?" I held him off. Within 10 more minutes the gobbler had inched to 20 yards and this time my whispered response was "If you have a clear sho…." Logan responded by pulling the trigger before I had finished the word. He had made a great shot and a clean kill.
We quickly recovered the bird. He weighed 20 lbs. and sported a 10 3/4-inch beard and 1-inch spurs.
Mark and Logan will be entered into the photo contest. Click here for complete rules and information on how to enter.