Michigan turkey season is under our belts and did it ever turn out to be an awesome time in the forest! I had my 12 year old grand-daughter with me hunting under her last “apprentice” license and my almost son-in-law Dave Younger along for his first turkey hunt. It was in my heart to try and get these two a bird, and I was willing to do my darndest to pull it off.
Our hunt actually started Friday as Ava and I sat on our first stand on the evening hunt. Four and a half hours in the blind without a “peep” from Mr. Tom turkey! Dave joined us later that night and we split up Saturday morning. The sun was shining brightly and the turkeys should of been gobbling their heads off, but again the woods were silent! I was disappointed to say the least, and was scuffling to come up with a plan “B.” This was the “first hunt” and things should of been “happening” in the turkey woods! I txt Dave and asked what he thought about moving are hunt to another area, as the birds seem to of vanished from this “hot spot!”
We confirmed that we should pull up stakes and move to another set-up. We only had Saturday evening and Sunday morning to pull this off and it didn’t seem like there was much of a chance of that happening. After arriving at our “back up” area we decided to do some four wheeling as we had our 4×4’s along. We had a blast and got about as muddy as a person can get when riding through 3 foot deep “snow melted” water! On the way back to “camp” we saw three Jakes meandering through the trees and came up with a plan to head them off at the pass. Dave grabbed his new Remington 870 which shoots a 3-1/2 inch “bazooka shell!” As fate would have it we caught the three amigo’s by surprise and Dave pulled off an incredible shot on his first turkey ever. The time was 2 P.M. so we had plenty of time to take Ava on the evening hunt. Again nothing was stirring and Ava was wondering (out loud) if she would ever see a bird?
Sunday morning saw us say goodbye to Dave before sunlight, as we prepared for our last few hours in the stand. Our departure time was set for 12 noon, and the morning was passing by uneventfully! Both of us dozed off from time to time as we tried to stay positive about all that “wasn’t” happening around us. At 9:45 I glanced out the blind window and a huge red head popped into view. I didn’t even look to see how big the bird was! I just knew it was a Tom, and Ava had her name written all over it. I helped her get the barrel of her little Remington 870 – 20 gage out the blind window, and coached her into making a good shot. She was shaking somewhat, but held steady enough to put the “smack down” on this long beard!
I still did not know what size the bird was until we approached it and saw the 9 inch beard and the mature tail fan! We laughed, danced, and thanked the Creator for allowing us to have such an experience, and provide a “natural” turkey dinner this coming Thanksgiving! Just two more hours and we would of went home empty handed, but instead were going to drive home with our hearts and spirits overflowing with “Memories of the turkey woods!”