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It involves me, him and his 2 boys this past Saturday morning.
Micci_man was gracious enough to join me Saturday morning for the Spring Gobbler Youth hunt. Having two young boys and each of them chomping to smack a gobbler, I had to call in the reinforcements. We met and headed up to my hunting lease where we split up to see what the day would bring. I went with my youngest son Grady to the north end of the property and Micci and Mason went south. After hearing numerous birds and having several
work closer to us, only to then seemingly change course, I made the decision after about an hour and a half that we should move locations and try again, but we sat for an additional 10 minutes with no
action. No sooner had we stepped out of our concealment and started to walk
away, when we were met with a gobbler walking up the hill toward us, coming in silent. I was
frustrated, but also know that’s how it goes in the woods. We followed our plan
and relocated toward another clearing on the property. Just prior to getting there
we stopped at a curve in the road and called. We were cut off by a gobble coming from the clearing I was wanting to reach. Knowing I couldn't get there undetected, we
sat up quickly off the side of the road a few yards back in the pines and called again. He sounded off that he was on his way and here he came! The bird made it to the end of the clearing and stopped fully in my view, but
slightly obscured to Grady. Making a rookie mistake, Grady “adjusted” his
position for a better look and gave his location away. The Tom wasn’t sure what
he saw, but erred on the side of caution and retreated away from us back down the clearing out of sight. Grady’s
mood was somber as I coached him about what went wrong and how you have to
handle situations such as that. I told him I doubted we could call the bird
back, but let’s give it a try. My next call was quickly answered by a gobble, but
not from the clearing the bird had just been spotted in. This response came
from our right and we quietly shifted positions for a better shot in that direction. Once we were repositioned, one more
call from me and an answer from the gobbler was all it took. From the trees
came not one, but two nice birds. The first of the two was a sure enough stud, swinging a brush off his chest that would make a painter jealous with envy. I whispered for him to shoot the first bird and he whispered back that the gun wouldn't fire. I had taken the safety off myself and he had just been practicing with the gun 2 days prior with no issues. I was looking at the bolt to make sure it was fully locked into battery and it appeared that it was. About that time the birds each took 2-3 steps forward and I knew Grady probably couldn't see the first bird but should be okay with the second. He confirmed to me he could see the second one and I told him to try shooting it. Grady managed to work through the case of jitters
that set in on him and put enough pressure on the trigger to score a 31 yard shot with his 20 gauge on a 21# bird
that sported an 8 ½” beard. The ensuing shock, lack of muscle control and
inability to speak coherently left me with tears of laughter as Grady slowly
regained his wits and claimed his prize. After the fact, with no discernable malfunction of the weapon, I believe he was just so nervous that he wasn't pulling the trigger hard enough. The poor boy couldn't even stand up on his own and once I lifted him up he just stood there. I started to walk toward his bird and he called out "My legs!" as he tried to take a step but couldn't. I grabbed him by the shoulders and walked with him to the bird where his eyes were as big as saucers at what he had taken. A quick text from Micci followed by a call to him from me was shared. I handed the phone to Grady and he could hardly speak and then handed the phone back to me. Micci and I were cracking up but by the time Micci arrived with the truck Grady was back to his normal self with the shock wearing off.
Although Grady is a terror on the fish, this was his first animal taken. He has hunted with me many times and witnessed plenty of kills, but yet lacks the confidence with his marksmanship to try a deer. He has spent a decent amount of time on the stock of his shotgun and I was confident he had what it takes to make a clean kill with it. Grady was quick to remind his older
brother that even though Mason (12) took a turkey last year before Grady did, at barely
10 years of age, Grady was younger than his brother had been when Mason took
his first turkey. You have to love sibling rivalry.
I'll let Micci fill in the adventures he and Mason had during this same time frame.
"That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole of the law. The rest is commentary."
Rabbi Hillel (c20 BCE)
I don't want to get all mushy but any of you that have true friends will know what I'm talking about. I (me and Joanna) raised two girls. These boys are the son's I didn't have. I am blessed to be apart of their lives and to be a friend of their daddy is special to me.
Me and Mason had 2 for sure gobbling on the limb, maybe a third. I was thinking "heck yeah, it's going to happen for him" but it didn't. We had a jake fly down out of the tree and Mason made the choice to "let him get bigger". ( his words) and I was fine with that. Watching and listening to the woods wake up is one of my favorite things. I would question Mason on different bird calls and told him the ones he didn't know. We made a move to another spot about an hour later and along the way I would point out old scrapes, animal tracks, rubs and game trails to him. He asked questions about all of that and I answered. It brought back memories of me and my girls doing the same thing 12-14 years ago.
We had just sat down and got a text that Grady just spooked a gobbler and about 5 minutes later, BOOM. When we hear that gun go off Mason said "that's what my gun sounds like and I hope Grady got him". I had a good feeling for some reason. When we met up with BT and G man the happiness and love Mason showed for his brother made me think, if everyone could be like this (including me) it would be a great world. Enough of the mush.
I'm glad I was invited to be apart of this day and I'm looking forward to more memories with those two knuckle heads, and their daddy.
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