Ever since my son was born I've been waiting for the time to come to take him on his first hunt with me. Saturday was that day.
Liam turned 4 this past February and I felt that if I set up my blind and it was a nice, warm day I could keep him occupied with a few toys, his portable DVD player, and his Leapfrog computer and headphones to squeeze in a couple hours in the turkey woods.
So, Saturday was the first time that I had him that I could take him. We slept in and I decided to make sure he ate and such before taking him out and that hunting the "late shift" might be the ticket.
We left my house at 1030 and headed for a farm I have permission on nearby. During the preseason I saw several long beards on this farm and it's very close to my house and a very short walk to where I needed to set up.
We arrived and I got my gear ready, got Liam his binoculars and his little backpack full of "entertainment" for him and we walked in towards the field. As we approached the field I found out that the edges were completely choked with multiflora rose to the point where nothing larger than a rabbit was penetrating it. I started to skirt around the corner when I saw a dark patch through the briars. Being that Liam had the only binoculars, I whispered that I needed them as I'd left mine in the truck. Peering through them (they're an old pair of my nikons) I could see a tom in full strut! I quickly handed the binos back to my little buddy and tried to figure out what to do.
I walked a bit further and it looked like a deer trail went up into the corner of the field and it might be open enough for the bird to come through. It was certainly worth a shot!
I quickly found a good place to set up the blind, deployed 3 decoys (2 hens and a strutter) and got Liam and I situated. I put him to the right inside the blind which was the side the bird would come from so he'd be hidden until the bird was right in front of us near the strutter decoy that I placed less than 10 yards away.
Once settled I nocked an arrow and grabbed my slate call. I told Liam he had to only whisper, not to move very much and listen for a turkey. I clucked a couple times and the gobbler hammered back! "Woo! Daddy! I heard a turkey!" my little guy excitedly whispered! LOL I waited a minute and did it again and got the same response from the turkey and my son.
With Liam asking me to make the turkey gobble again several times, I waited a couple minutes before letting out a few more clucks and purrs which were once again immediately answered, and much closer. I knew it was a just a matter of time and I was either going to kill this bird or screw it up.
I told Liam to stand so he could see and I spun off of my seat and got on 1 knee. Bow in my left hand and son in my right I intently watched as I saw the gobbler slinking down the trail into view! I whispered into Liams ear to watch by that tree because the turkey was coming. His eyes grew to the size of saucers as the gobbler walked in between us and the tree, only about 30' away!
As it worked towards the strutter decoy, he was acting a bit squirrely and I knew he wasn't comfortable so I whispered to Liam not to move because daddy was going to shoot the turkey. I clipped my release on the string, drew towards the floor of the blind, eased the bow up and found the bird in my sight window. He was to the right of the decoy, and quartering slightly away. I aimed and touched the release and watched the arrow blow through the bird and it started thrashing around and flopping towards where it had came from! I put my bow down and flipped the blind over my head and the bird was gone!!!!
I quickly grabbed my bow, quiver and told Liam to follow me and took off in the direction of where I'd last seen him praying the whole time! Liam did pretty well keeping up and as I got to the field edge I watched a gobbler sail off and my heart plummeted. I couldn't figure out how he'd been able to make it that far and still fly off when I turned my head to see MY gobbler huddled in the grass about 10 yards away! I knocked another arrow and finished him, though while dressing him out, it wasn't necessary to do so, I wasn't taking any chances!
I threw my bow down and raced back and grabbed Liam and shouted "We got him buddy! We got a big turkey!" He was hollering too and I gave him a big hug before we went up to the bird.
I knew it was a good bird, I just didn't know how good. Overall, my best ever, for several reasons, but the stats are 22 lbs, 9.5" beard and 1 1/8" sharp spurs! I decided to have a chest mount done because of all the factors in play (this was also my first bird with a bow!). This was definitely a dream come true for me and I can only pray I get to spend many more hunts with Liam!
Now for tag #2!