April 4: Coltin Hampton

Rod Owen and I were determined to get my son Coltin a long-beard this spring during the Kansas youth season. Last season ended with some close calls and some unfired shells. We were disappointed to say the least. But with limited time, comes limited chances. This season we would have four days to hunt our leases in Kansas. Our anticipation was at an all-time high.

Opening morning brought cold temps and two gobblers strutting just out of range. After Rodney's best argument with an angry hen, we realized that nothing was going to make those birds fly across the creek for a date with disaster. After the birds finally departed, we went to the top of a ridge and yelped one time on the cherry bomb. A gobble rang out so close that I thought he was roosted on my shoulder. We sat down immediately, and within seconds he was at 40 yards in a strut. He gobbled two more times before stepping out in the open. When the gun went off , a limb was unknowingly ready to absorb the shot. It appeared to be a clean miss on a big long-beard.

We then went to the south end of the lease and set up for a potentially long sit. After Rod called the first time, we had one gobbling and headed our way. With a full fan and a deep gobble, he strutted most of the way across the field. As soon as Coltin fired the gun, Rod yelled out,"We'll you didn't miss that one !". Coltin walked over and picked up his second turkey ever, which ended up being a " Super Jake".

On April 4th, my 32nd birthday, Colt and I were on our own. Rod had gone to hunt with his nephews, so we decided to go and try another farm in southern Kansas. I had told Coltin over and over, that all I wanted for my birthday was for him to kill a long-beard.. After an unproductive morning and some much needed sleep, we went out for our final afternoon hunt. I spotted two strutters in a field along a creek. The decision was made to try a stalk to get in between the turkey's and a potential roost tree. After getting as close as we felt possible, I belly crawled to get the decoy's in place before yelping at the pre-occupied srutters. At the first purrs and light yelps, their attention was ours. The duo made it half way to our position before a hen stepped out behind them, drawing them into a retreat. "We'll here goes nothing", I told Colt, as I gave my best gobbler imitation. Simultaneously, the birds gobbled back and were headed our way for the final time. At a distance of 30 yards, the spittin' and drummin' was halted by the sound of the Thompson center. When the 'king of the field' dropped to the ground, I turned the camera around to get the reaction of my oldest son.. He simply said "Happy Birthday Dad".