April 19: Jacob & John O'Dell

Jacob O'Dell harvested his birds on April 19th & John followed it up on the 20th with his birds!

I decided to take my son Jacob to Kansas for an attempt to harvest his first ever Rio Grande turkey. We were invited by our friend Brad Czapanskiy who owns Highland Ridge Outfitting www.highlandridgeoutfitters.com in Clyde Kansas. I was fortunate to harvest my first Kansas archery whitetail with Brad last November, a gorgeous fully mature 150” 10 pointer and while I was there he invited Jacob and me back for spring turkey season. Based on all of the turkeys I saw while I was there I knew we would be in for a great hunt.

Well finally it was Wednesday April 18th and Jacob and I were on our way from Virginia to Kansas. Dave was going to meet us after his South Dakota bow hunt and we would also be joined in turkey camp by Dave’s brother Rick. Rick lives in Wichita so he volunteered to pick us up at the airport so that we could ride together a couple hours north to Clyde where we would be hunting. When we finally arrived it was time to get unpacked and prepared for the morning hunt.

Well I did not get much sleep to say the least. Anticipation was high as Dave had roosted several gobblers the evening before. We set up a blind under the cover of darkness and waited for that first gobble of the morning. It seemed like it took forever but the toms finally began to cut loose from their limbs and it was game on!

There was a one large group of birds that flew down and despite our best efforts with the calling they began to drift away and after a while the woods became silent. Then all of a sudden there was a gobble right behind our blind. Dave turned on the camera and I helped Jacob get ready for the shot. I called and boom another gobbler right next to our blind working closer to our Flambeau decoy spread. Finally the super jake appeared. I told Jacob that he was a jake and asked if he wanted to shoot him. His response was clear and concise as I received an emphatic “YES” from my son. So Dave gave him the green light and boom Jacob had his first Rio. Let the celebration begin! We were all high fives and excitement in the blind!

Jacob’s great luck continued as later that day he harvested his first Longbeard! We had set up on a freshly burned field that had lots of turkey sign. We had several Reconyx photos of gobblers using the field in the afternoon. So we set up around 2:00PM. After a few hours some hens came in and began pecking our decoys in the head. They left the field for a moment and when they returned they had a longbeard strutter in tow. This time I gave Jacob the green light to shoot and filmed as he dropped the big tom where he stood. Jacob was so excited that he could not talk but his huge smiled showed how excited he was!

To make a long story short I was fortunate to fill both of my Kansas tags with gobblers on video as well but the hunting was as tough as I can ever remember. That said two things will forever stand out about this hunt. One is the fun had in camp with Brad, Adam, Rick, Dave, Jacob and me despite the tough hunting conditions. Secondly seeing how excited my son was after harvesting his first ever Rio Grande turkeys. For those reasons after 30 years of spring turkey hunting, this hunt will stand out as one of the best ever!

Good Hunting!
John and Dave