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Wednesday, September 20, 2023
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A Family Affair

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I miss my grandaddy in the spring. He was a turkey hunter and the man who inspired me to learn any and everything I can about these big beautiful birds. He not only taught me to call turkeys, but how to build callers for them and ways to improve habitat to ensure healthy turkeys and fat, fast growing poults. He taught me humility and even as a young boy he stressed the solemnity of the occasion. “Never take a single life for granted,” he’d tell me.

I never got to hunt a turkey with my grandaddy. By the time I was old enough, his health was fragile. Rather than take me hunting, we’d sit for hours with him passing every bit of turkey savvy he could on to me. He taught me to love the sport of turkey hunting, way before I even harvested my first. I lost him while I was still a teenager, but all of these many years later, I still rely on the lessons he gave me on each and every hunt. It makes me so grateful to him and makes me miss him something terrible.

I was especially reminded of him, my mentor, upon receiving a note from the First Lady of Osceola hunting, Melissa Jones Tuttle. She had scored huge on a mighty handsome tom on opening morning, called in by expert guide and turkey hunting legend, Jimmy Jones. I tell ya folks, if young turkeys ever gathered to tell scary stories by a campfire, Jimmy’s name would surely come up. Best of all though, Jimmy wasn’t only Melissa’s guide, he’s her daddy! How cool is that? Because there’s nothing like a family that hunts together.

I’ll share her note with each of you. Her note said, “I know how you love a good turkey hunting story. This one is a classic. We put him to bed and knew where he slept, so we got in there very early and set up to call to him. He gobbled at every call we threw at him. He turned on the limb of the tree he’d been roosting in and gobbled at us till 8:00. When he pitched down and walked out into the clear, well within gun range and boom!” I was so tickled to read that, having known and admired both of them for many years now. But, what touched me most was her postscript.

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Her note continued, “My daddy is my hero. Jimmy Jones is the first man I ever loved and has by far set the standards for all men. Even after all of these years hunting together, each hunt is priceless. Being in the woods with my Daddy is some of the best days of my life.”

What a lucky girl…. What a lucky Dad. As always, if you have any comments, questions or just want to share your success from the woods, give me a shout out at [email protected]. God bless and good hunting!

Toby Benoit
Toby Benoit
Toby Benoit is a best selling novelist and professional outdoorsman with thirty-five years of experience guiding and outfitting for big game all across America. Toby is a renowned archer and turkey hunting expert who manufactures custom game calls and is a regular judge at NWTF sanctioned turkey calling events across the Southeast.
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