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An Outdoorsman’s Journal – 6-3-2015

by Mark Walters

Food Plots and Young Hunters

Hello friends,

This week’s column is about growing food plots with your kids and hunting together over them. I really enjoy both.

Wednesday, May 13th
High 67, low 29

There was frost on top of our turkey blind this morning when my 14-year-old daughter, Selina Walters and I got inside of it. No problem, I had a two-burner propane stove hooked up to a 20-pound propane tank that was camouflaged and outside of the blind.

Last fall, I kind of ran my stove over with my truck and this morning when I lit it, there was a boom which was an explosion, which meant no stove today.

Last fall I went through three stoves in 30-days, one do to natural causes, another destroyed by a storm, which also destroyed my brand new screen tent and the one that I backed over with my truck.

So today, Selina and I are both trying to whack a tom with our bows and arrows. Both of us have already harvested a mature tom earlier in the season. We are hunting our food plot, which has become a wildlife mecca.

Last May, Selina and I planted about a half-acre of clover and then in August we planted beets, turnips and radishes on another quarter acre next to it. Within spitting distance of the beets, is a pond and the plot is surrounded on three sides by a jackpine and oak forest.

For the most part Selina does all of the whitetail hunting with a bow here and I have found out that it is very difficult for a 12 and then 13-year old girl to be close enough to a deer to make a decent shot with a compound bow set at about 42-pounds.

Last summer, Selina was 13 and she did a lot of practicing and I have to tell you folks, in that age bracket, it is hard for a girl to comfortably and unnoticeably pull a bow back that is set over 42-pounds from a tree stand.

In our situation, at least in the last two years, Selina has to be in a tree on the edge of the plot as she has a max “comfort “ range of about 18-20 yards.

So we’re in our blind this morning and as always we are having fun. Deep in the forest toms are gobbling and as time passes they are making their way to our plot.

When they arrived, they were 40-yards away and one of them was quite possibly the biggest tom that I have ever seen while turkey hunting. The Super Tom had at least a 13-inch beard and I am thinking he would tip the scale close to 30-pounds. The other tom was a dandy in the typical 23-pound range, with maybe a 10-inch beard.

These toms were in the plot for 45 minutes, never got closer then 35-yards and though Selina had a 12 gauge in the blind she did not want to take the chance of wounding the big guy and not recovering him.

Friday, May 15th
High 73 low 37

Selina made a major announcement to me today! Next year, when she is in high school, she wants her major sports to be hunting and fishing (she will still do basketball and either track or softball).

So we’re in the blind maybe two hours and have another two hours of daylight left. One of my plans for the plot this year is to put five rows of corn on the outside of it and let the blind become a part of it all, perhaps Selina can whack a deer or a turkey this fall from it.

We watch deer feed on the clover and three hens do the same. Then in the woods, near the pond, I thought I heard the cluck of a hen. I look that way and wait and soon, two hens appear and then a very large tom.

Selina has her bow and her shotgun and most importantly a strong desire to harvest her second mature tom of the spring. The tom is making his love dance to the hens. Selina cannot see him do to some jackpine branches in her way. She has made her choice to use the shotgun. The toms luck runs out when Selina spots him and absolutely pummels him with a load of 1-¾ ounce four shot. Though he was not the Super Tom, Selina’s trophy had an 11-inch beard, 1.25-inch spurs and though I did not weigh him, he weighed every bit of 25-pounds.

Folks I have been to a gazzilion ball games and they are all a beautiful thing but if you aint hunting with your kids, you’re missing out!  Sunset