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An Outdoorsman’s Journal – 5-1-2013

A column by Mark Walters

Turkey Hunting, Two for the Price of One

Hello friends,

My 12-year-old daughter, Selina, and I had drawn tags for Wisconsin’s second turkey season and as I was about to find that this young lady is going to be an avid turkey hunter.

Our hunts would take place within a mile of our home in northern Juneau County and as usual, Wisconsin’s cold, wet spring was a part of the experience.

Wednesday, April 17th – High 42, low 25

Snow, followed by thunderstorms that were pushed by a cold wind made up the day.

Before daylight we had toms gobbling behind us in a mature oak forest, and Selina and I both hoped that they would be attracted to the field that we were watching.

A bit of a heads up on the field that we were watching is, that traditionally it is an excellent place to have several experiences a day while turkey hunting, as it is always planted in soybeans or corn. With last summers drought there was no harvest as the corn withered in July.

No waste grain means very few turkey and deer. This morning Selina and I only had the pleasure of watching two hens on a hunt in which, late in the morning Selina went to school, and I headed to Green Bay to fish walleye out of my canoe.

Thursday, April 18th – High 43, low 33

I picked Selina up from school at 3:00 today (on my way home from Green Bay) I took her home to change and we hit the blind with high hopes of filling our tags. Selina is now 12 and this is our first hunt together where we can carry two guns, so the thought of doubling up on a couple of gobblers is super cool.

As usual Selina would read a paragraph from her book and then scan the field. I constantly scan the field and love the forced relaxation of hunting turkey from a blind.

Once again this afternoon all we saw was a couple of hens and I was starting to have my concerns about my choice for this years hunt. As is always the case with Selina and myself, we joked around a lot and had some great conversations.

Saturday, April 20th – High 45, low 19

There was a hard frost on the pumpkin this morning and a stiff north wind with it.

We had plenty of toms gobbling from their roosts on some private land behind us, but once again the field that we were hunting was not where they wanted to be.

About mid-morning, six hens and a jake entered the field and I was able to call the jake in from across the field. Just before the jake became dinner, he realized something was wrong and said goodbye.

About 11:00, I made the decision that Selina and I needed to find a different spot to hunt tonight and we scouted two separate properties that I had permission to hunt.

We made our choice and that was to watch a small field that is surrounded on three sides by an oak and pine forest. A field that I hunted with my stepson Travis for his first turkey hunt. On that hunt, Travis shot a tom, another tom came and started beating up his deceased pal so I decided to make some meat, and just like that Travis and I had two gobblers.

This afternoon’s hunt was perfect from the start. It was sunny and warm and we had only been in the blind maybe 20 minutes when I called in a super tom. Unfortunately, Selina could not get a shot and she was a bit bummed about having two experiences in one day and no meat for the roaster (a little side note, Selina wanted to fill her tag so she did not have to get up at 4:15 the next morning).

At 6:06, I saw a big gobbler watching our hen and jake decoy and it was only 70-yards to our right. Getting a kid in position to execute a turkey without being seen, or heard, is a huge challenge. During every hunt, Selina insists on practicing and today it paid off.

The gobbler stopped at 54-paces and was not coming any closer. I told Selina that she could make the shot and just like that the big tom was flopping on the ground.

Within seconds, three toms that we did not even know were in the area, ran out from the woods and started tearing their buddy to pieces with their beaks and claws. I grabbed my extremely worn out 12-gauge from my little girls arms and clobbered a huge tom with a 3-inch load of five shot. Selina and I hugged each other and laughed a whole bunch and the entire time one of the toms did not want to end his desecration of his pals.

The next morning we slept until it was time to go to church and life is good here in northern Juneau County.

Enjoy your children, soon they will be adults!