Illini West Whitetails

Cameron's Youth Hunt



This past weekend, Cameron and I were successful in our quest for a Turkey during the Youth Season.  We had great weather and a wonderful time.  We even accomplished a controlled burn-off in the small thicket behind Mom’s house.


The Saturday morning hunt was hindered by coyote activity at our set-up.  Cameron and I started the morning at 4:00 am, setting up the blind on the elevated area of the Grassy Knoll, between the Mockingbird Stand and the G-spot.  There was a space between some brush and a cedar tree where, with some cutting and trimming, the Ground Max blind fit in snuggly.  This was a strategic set-up, in an area well known for turkey activity.  At early light, we heard a dominant gobbler about 200 yards to our west, near the Oak Ridge area. We were full of anticipation!  However, the realistic decoy spread and exquisite turkey calling attracted the coyotes first; which in turn scared the turkeys away.  Each time, the coyotes would appear unanticipated.  The wildly beasts would go trotting by, just out of lethal range of Cameron’s 20-gauge. Later that morning, we were foiled in a sneak attack on a nice gobbler that was hanging out with five hens near the Pond Fingers.


On Sunday morning, we moved our set-up to the Long Field area beneath the Mid-Stand.  Our decoy spread included a strutting Tom that looked very convincing.  I captured video of a long roped Tom drumming and strutting to the side of us, unfortunate the Tom lowered his head as Cameron lowered the boom (the video slow-motion shows the shot wad going just over its head).  The miss was upsetting, but I reminded Cameron that Mitch also missed his first shot at a turkey.  With the miss, we decided to take a break and change the decoy spread.  After some refreshments, we removed the B-Mobile strutting Tom from the spread with the hopes of easing the tension on some Jakes that we saw earlier across the field.  As the breeze picked up, I chalked up the box call and gave it some yelps.  The response was a faint gobble to the north, deep in the Coeur’s Timber (which will soon to be our timber).  I called again after a 15 minute wait and low-and-behold, a big white head appears walking through the woods along the fence line.  At 8:55 am, Cameron did not miss. 


Cameron’s bird weighed 22.5 pounds (according to Lane’s fish scale), has a 9.5 inch beard and 7/8 inch spurs.  What a beautiful bird for Cameron’s first turkey.


Spring has sprung, so enjoy it!