During the first season of 2010 Spring turkey hunting in Wisconsin, I got the chance to take my dad out for the first time in a couple years.  He is always busy with other things during the spring so he never gets the opportunity to get out in the woods.  I decided I would scout for him and set him up perfect so when the time came, he would have a good chance at getting a nice gobbler.

I got home after school on Wednesday, April 14th (season opener) around 3:30 in the afternoon.  When I got home, my dad had to run to the store quick to get some groceries.  I told him that when he got back we would go out hunting and he thought he could give it a try.  So as soon as he got back I was rushing him to get his stuff together quickly so we could get out in the woods as soon as possible.  Watching him get his stuff was quite a thrill actually, because half the stuff he needed he couldn’t find.  I gave him a hard time about it and it was a good thing that I have an excess supply of turkey hunting supplies so I could lend him my extra stuff.  Once we got the camera stuff ready and my dad got his bow ready, we quickly got in the vehicle and made our way to the woods.

When we got out to the property, my dad was complaining that it was going to rain.  I told him that he needed to suck it up and I also reminded him we were going to be in the blind so it wouldn’t make much of a difference.  I rushed out of the truck and got my camera ready, meanwhile my dad got his bow out and grabbed the chairs for the blind.  We decided we would leave the tom decoy in the truck and just take out the hen decoy.  We started our way to the blind as the rain started falling.  My dad shook his head like I was crazy for going out for “just a turkey” in the rain; I just started laughing at him. We got to the blind and got ourselves set up.

As time passed by, my dad talked on camera a bit and we had some quiet conversations about random things.  At some points we barely could hold in our laughter because my dad would mess up talking on the camera.  With the lack of experience in front of the camera, after we heard some leaves rustle behind us my dad whispered to the camera “I think I thought I heard something behind us.” I laughed so hard I cried and it hurt my stomach because I had to hold it in.  But to our satisfaction, we looked behind us a couple minutes later and saw some bright red heads in the brush.  I told my dad to get ready.  After they disappeared for what seemed to be 10 minutes, a couple toms walked out in the field at 40 yards.  We were almost positive they were going to come to our hen decoy but then some hens came out behind the toms and steered them back into the thick woods.  We were disappointed.  We thought those turkeys would be the last turkeys of the night because it was getting pretty late and the turkeys were going to the roost.  But shortly after the first three toms left the field, two more came back out.  Once again these toms didn’t stay long and they stayed out of bow range.  Once the turkeys flew up in the roost, we decided to make our way back to the truck.  We decided that the hunt was unsuccessful for harvesting a turkey, but it was successful for my dad and me because we had a blast together.  In the blind that afternoon we bonded as much as a father and son can, and we will always look back on that hunt and have a good laugh together.

Once we arrived back home we both decided that we could take our chances and go back out in the morning to the same spot.  I had school that started at 8:15am and my dad had work off so we knew there was some time to go out and perhaps get an opportunity.  My dad chose to not use his gun in the morning due to he lack of time we had, and we also decided to bring out our tom decoy.

We woke up at 4:30 the next morning and got out to the woods by 5:15.  We set up outside of the blind because I don’t use a blind for gun hunting because it is less of a challenge in my perspective.  We leaned up against the two trees right beside our blind and we waited until we heard the first thunderous gobble of the morning.  At about 5:30 I took out the owl call and gave it a hoot.  The woods erupted into gobbling!  There were approximately a dozen toms roosting all around the field we were set up in.  I told my dad that they always come out at about 7:15 to 7:30.  At last we heard the turkeys start to fly down around 6:45.  The turkeys got a lot quieter when they flew down but they still remained somewhat vocal.  We decided to call a bit more at this point and I also decided to take out my Primos gobbler call and give that a shot.  At 7:10 I started to get a little worried we wouldn’t see anything before I had to leave for school around 7:45.  But my pessimistic thoughts soon vanished when my dad said there was a tom down the fence line.  I quickly got the camera on the bird as it jogged away from us for some reason.  I noticed it was a smaller tom so I knew it wouldn’t come in to our more dominant looking tom decoy.  As I kept on the tom across the field my dad started saying “ready… ready… are you ready Justin!?”  I thought to myself, ‘what are you talking about dad?  That tom is like 200 yards away.’  Moments after two toms merged into the LCD screen of my camcorder.  They were only 20 yards away!  As soon as I saw them I told my dad to shoot.  My dad waited about 10 more seconds and shot.  The tom dropped and a feeling of relief and happiness filled my body.  My dad lifted his face mask and got ready to lift himself from the ground to claim his prize, but then he put his mask down again for some reason.  The other tom came running back in to check out what happen to his fellow tom.  We watched it as it walked around the tom, then it walked away.  The tom my dad had shot started to flop around again and shortly after the other tom came running out again.  We enjoyed just watching how stupid the tom seemed as it walked back out at 20 yards.  After seeing enough the tom ran away and we got up to claim our kill.

My dad got out to the motionless tom and he noticed it had a double beard: one 9” and the other was 7”.   The tom weighed 26 pounds and had half inch spurs.  My dad tagged the bird and we did a quick wrap up with the camera to summarize the hunt.  My dad was really happy so he didn’t mind that I missed a little school afterwards to help him take care of the bird.  As for me, I had a great time with my dad and that turkey hunt will remain as one of my favorite hunts and memories with my dad.

20100524_DSC03040 My beautiful picture