Hunting with your family can be some of the fondest memories you will ever have.
I wrote this story about taking my first gobbler over ten years ago, and it is still one of my favorite hunts that I will never forget. My father and I were hunting in Mills County, Texas near the Pecan Bayou, absolutely beautiful country.
“Blake… Blake get up. I overslept! I just stepped outside and they’re already gobblin’!”
I opened my eyes for the first time in six hours, and for a second I wanted to shut them and go back to sleep, but then I realized we were going out for a gobbler!
I leaped out of bed and was in camo from head to toe in less than a minute (record time). Before I could get a drink of water or brush my teeth, I was out the door with my 12 gauge in hand and on the heels of my dad.
We didn’t speak a word as we were hopping over rocks and ducking limbs trying to get to our destination as quick as possible. The sun was not up yet but it was already breaking day. We stopped. We listened… We heard a gobble.
“Come on!” my dad whispered, and we were back on the move.
Within moments we reached our spot to set up.
“Right here,” my dad said softly as he sat down and leaned up against an oak. I quickly found my own tree and sat down. We sat quietly listening and we heard another gobble that sounded like it was straight ahead, just out of sight.
As my father began working the call I quickly got in position to fire, with my knees up and shotgun in place. I knew I must be ready to shoot when the turkey comes in to view because my father had once told me that a turkey’s eye sight is better than ours, and if I could see him… he could definitely see me.
I was ready. I had finally relaxed and caught my breath when I heard it. That distinct sound of a male turkey eager and determined to find him a mate. I knew I was going to get a shot.
My dad continued calling with perfection and within moments I saw movement. My heart skipped a beat and the adrenaline began to pump.
“This is it,” the voice inside my head said, reminding me to stay calm. I knew I was in the midst of excellence when the gobbler peeked over the horizon and my father hit the call one last time before the magnificent bird could have spotted us.
At this point, I knew the tom was committed and I would get a shot. In full strut, about 70 yards away, he was closing in… looking intently for his potential mate.
“Do … not … move,” I reminded myself as I slowly put the bird in my sights.
He had another 30 yards to cover and as I sat waiting I couldn’t help but notice how green the grass was, how silent this particular morning was, and how in a matter of seconds this serenity was going to be interrupted by a blast from my Benelli.
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The tom was almost in range, and I adjusted my eyes to my father as if I was awaiting confirmation. I had hunted with my father for many years growing up, listening to his words and waiting for him to say “Shoot.” I quickly realized that he couldn’t move, say a word, or even give a signal. So I focused on the bird.
“He is in range,” I told myself as I took a deep breath. The tom was still walking towards us about 40 yards out when I took aim. “Do it now” were the last words I heard in my head before I pulled the trigger.
The blast surprised me as it always does, and the big gobbler was down. Relief and excitement were both running through my veins.
“I got him!” I shouted to my dad, and those were the first words I had spoken for the day. “You scared me,” he said with a smile on his face, “I wasn’t ready for the blast.”
I stood up grinning from ear to ear and I said to my dad, “That was awesome, he came right in just like in a hunting video!” I gave my father a hug and we quickly rushed to the bird. I was speechless, and I knew the events that had just taken place would be with me forever.
That was the first of many turkey hunts with my father, and though each one of them has been a unique experience, this one is still my favorite.
Share your pictures and stories with us at Wide Open Spaces! What was one of your favorite hunts?