This weekend opens the two day youth season for wild turkey hunting in our zone, as determined by our friends at the Florida Wildlife Commission. I pray that many of you will be taking to the field with your favorite little folks in hopes of bringing a big gobbler to their gun. Now anybody that’s hunted with kids knows that they lose focus when they find themselves having to wait too long for some action. Think about ways to keep them from growing irritable with boredom; muted cell phone games, handheld gaming devices, or quiet toys.
You have to teach them patience; this, I can’t stress enough. I stress it often when talking about any phase of the turkey season, but most especially when hunting with kids. It’s my belief that more turkeys survive the Spring due to a lack of patience on the hunter’s part than anything else. Too many turkey hunters, especially our youngsters, get bored during lulls in the action and are out of the woods by 9 a.m., but the turkeys are still out here being turkeys. Don’t be that guy who walks off and leaves a gobbler just because he doesn’t hear it and your tiny partner is fidgety. Be patient, sit tight, and tough it out. Try a stationary approach to kill those educated and quiet gobblers rather than running, gunning, and bumping birds you had no way of realizing were there.
My niece and I combined several of these tactics during the late part of Florida’s season last year. After the birds flew down from the roost, we hadn’t heard a gobble, but we had already discussed it and had decided to stay put the whole time. We’d set up a pop-up-style ground blind along a flowing creek bottom between two giant cypress strands ringed with oaks. Every so often I had tossed out some pretty calm social calls, but we mostly just sat and waited.
Getting close to the noon hour, she and I sat in our blind drinking the juice from a pair of cut grapefruit and a lone gobble rang out from up the creek. I quickly picked up the box call and tossed back a few yelps and clucks while she slipped my video game bearing cell-phone into her pocket. It took a bit more waiting before that red head popped up from behind a fallen cypress tree and he accepted an invitation, of copper-plated number fours from her .410 shotgun to the beak, to ride home with us. We didn’t kill that bird with fancy decoys or any expert calling. We killed it with patience, concealment, scouting, and a whole lot of luck that played along on that hunt. But patience, more than anything, allowed that gobbler to join us in the truck on our drive home.
As always, if you have any questions or a story to share, feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] God bless and good hunting!