Apr 17, 2012

2012 CT Youth Turkey Hunt Success

Saturday April 14th was the first of two turkey youth hunting training days here in Connecticut.  These days are designed to allow licensed youth hunters to hunt prior to the opening of the general season as long as they are accompanied by a licensed adult.  Only the youth hunter is allowed to carry a firearm or bow and the only one allowed to hunt.  This offers up plenty of opportunities for the youth hunters to learn as the adults teach.  Great concept and very valuable in getting kids excited in our sport of hunting.

So Saturday Busch Pilot and I planned on taking out My Daughter and Bubba's youngest son Jared out turkey hunting at the farm.  This would be Jared's first turkey hunt and my daughters second year.  Last year Kaleigh was successful tagging her first bird on a youth hunt and we were hoping the same good luck would be with Jared.

A mature bird nicknamed Fingers - he is on Kaleigh's hit list

We have been watching the farm for weeks and knew we had plenty of birds using the farm regularly including 3 longbeards and a jag of young jakes.  At times during our scouting the filed would be full of birds as much as 20 at one time.  The Friday evening before we scouted the farm, and the birds did the exact same thing they've been doing as previous scouting trips which made our game plan simple. Busch Pilot and Jared would setup in the upper field closer to where the birds were roosting, while Kaleigh and I hunted the lower pasture hoping to catch one of the bigger toms skating around all the action.

Just as it started getting light the first gobbler sounded off and it started the typical morning chain reaction and we had birds gobbling on the roost all around us so we knew the kids would see birds today and hoped they would come close enough for a shot or two.  Once the birds hit the ground they got a little quiet, but there was a good mix of birds in the field and heading down off the upper field which would put them in view of Jared's setup.  Bubba had to work and couldn't join the hunt, but he was down on the road watching the show and his watch all while willing the birds into the Jared's setup.  Busch Pilot is our Turkey Whisperer and speaks fluent turkey and he gave a couple of soft yelps and purs and that strutting Jake turned to look and got his first glimpse of the decoy.  That strutting Jake walked right up to the decoy just 15 yards from where Jared sat and when that Remington 870 20 gauge barked that Jake hit the ground and never twitched.  Jared's first turkey ever was on the ground bit the field was still filled with birds so they sat tight.   Seeing we have a 3 bird limit on private land here in CT, Busch Pilot asked Jared it he wanted to shoot another one, which by the way was a stupid question, of course Jared did.  So Busch Pilot worked a another Jake and hen into the decoys and told Jared to shoot when the hen cleared out and was safe.  That hen cleared out, Jared shot and two Jakes hit the ground.  Yup, another Jake was running in as he shot and both went down.  So Jared's first every turkey hunt ended in him tagging out by 6:30am.  That wasn't the plan, but it happens sometimes.

Jared's first, second and third Turkey of hist hunting carreer


Kaleigh and I could hear the whole thing and would catch a glimpse of the top of a strutting tom's tail but the only bird to make it to us that early was a bearded hen. When Jared went to retrieve his flopping bird, the birds spooked and flew off so Kaleigh and I decided to stay put and let things calm down.  About an hour later we had hens talking and birds gobbling again so we got back to business and it wasn't long after that when we saw birds coming around the point and working are way.  Kaleigh had decided that she wanted a mature bird and was not going to shoot a Jake and I thought that would be thrown out the window at the first sign of a Jake and she was about to be tested, not once but multiple times.  As we watched the first bird coming our way we could see the second, third and eventually the 7th Jake coming down into the lower pasture.  We looked them over good at a distance with the binos and then I asked Kaleigh if she wanted to shoot one and I thought for sure she would say yes, so when she said no I was shocked.  I asked again to make sure and she reemphasized her no a little louder which was my signal to not ask again.  So I asked her if she wanted to have some fun with them which she agreed to, so we gave a few soft helps and those Jakes turned and walked right to us.  The milled around gobbled some, tried to strut there stuff but they seemed a little nervous which was probably due to the fact that Jared had knocked down 3 of their friends.



The Jakes finally headed off down below us and continued to gobble every now and again.  While all this was going on, we could hear two more gobblers off in the distance and we both knew they were most likely the mature birds we were looking for.  I felt that trying to work the mature birds with 7 Jakes less then 75 yards from us would prove to be ineffective, but we gave it a shot.  Just about 10 minutes after calling to those mature toms, that I hear that sound of a turkey strutting and peak out the window to the right and there is one of those Jakes just 10 yards from the blind.  Crap, they came back.  I once again asked Kaliegh if she wanted to shoot one and this time I got the head shake and a dirty look.  So we sat backed and enjoyed the show that the Jakes would put on for  almost 20 minutes.  They huddled up by our decoy at a mere 15 yards and gobbled and gobbled and gobbled.  They gobbled at everything.  Crows, planes, geese, other turkeys, actually they gobbled at just about anything that made noise.  All this time we could hear those two other gobblers still sounding off but getting farther away.  Not good, but we decided to sit and enjoy the show which we did.  We giggled at almost every gobble, Kaleigh took pictures with her cell phone and sent them to all her friends and she would ask some questions and I would answer.

Once the Jakes finally got out of our setup, we waited about a 1/2 hour and decided we would do some additional calling from our current setup to see if we could hear those other Toms before changing game plans.  We got a long distance gobble here and there but they obviously had their ladies with them and wanted nothing to do with us.  We did a little run and gunning but couldn't go to where those Toms were and nothing else responded so at about noon we decided to call it a morning and head out to get some lunch.  We ate lunch and ran back to the house to check in with mom and it was almost 1:30pm and even though we could hunt until 5pm on youth day, Kaleigh had a birthday party to go to that evening and decided to skip the afternoon hunt.  She was going to from camo and the turkey woods to a dress and heels all in one day.

Fingers the day after the youth hunt - Kaleigh took his picture


Success comes in many forms and success is really defined by the individual.  Jared had a very successful day no doubt about it, and some may feel that Kaleigh didn't.  The fact that Kaleigh made up her mind and stuck to her game plan and never wavered, even with multiple legal birds taunting her just feet from where she sat taking their picture, says different.  These youth hunts are also about training and opportunities to gain experience, I'd say the hunt provided us with plenty of opportunities to discuss and learn from and for Kaleigh to grow as a hunter and I was proud of how she handled the experience.  In my book that equals a successful hunt.



9 comments:

  1. Man, what a hunt!!! For both kids!! Nothing like having turkeys gobble right in front of you!! Great post!

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    1. Thanks Trey. Both of them had lots of fun. Taking a newbie out for the second youth hunt this Saturday. Should be interesting.

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  2. Hey. I enjoyed your jake video. You interested in entering our Jr. Turkey Thumper contest? I would love for you to enter your daughter and let us use your video. You can sign her up jrturkeythumpers.com. My main site is ToxieGivens.com. Contact me at toxiegivens@gmail.com if you are interested. Nice work. Keep videoing. It is so fun to share with others.

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    1. I checked out the site, pretty neat concept. Lots of good videos. I'll see what I can put together.

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  3. Congratulations Jared and the video was pretty cool.

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    1. Thanks Rick. Are you ready for some trout fishing?

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  4. Way to go! He must have been excited...

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  5. Fine shooting - however, your son Jared is holding a tom, not a jake! The tail feathers are even on the bird in the middle - you can clearly see that the bird on the left has longer central tail feathers. I've shot toms with no spurs and short beards - especially in the Northeast (NY and CT), where the birds can get beard rot or the beards can get frozen off due to ice storms - but toms always have a full fan. In essence, the ONLY way to clearly distinguish between a tom and jake is the tailfan...



    From the NWTF: You can usually tell the difference between an adult male (a tom) and a juvenile male (a jake) turkey by looking at a turkey's tail. All tail feathers of adult males are the same length. The feathers forming the center of a jake's tail are usually longer than the rest of the feathers in the tail.

    http://www.nwtf.org/all_about_turkeys/new_turkey_look.html

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  6. Great story and video. It's good to see a blog promoting New England hunting and fishing. The more the better to get people outside.

    I'm from Maine, and spring turkey season wraps up tomorrow. Fingers crossed, but no luck yet!

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