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This story starts last fall when Dave and I were in Kentucky deer hunting with our good friend Ben Maki from Mossy Oak. He has some of the best dirt I have ever been fortunate enough to hunt on for deer and turkeys. Although we were there to film a deer hunt for Bow Madness I could not help but notice that it seemed like there were turkeys around every corner. We only had three days to bow hunt with Ben but Dave still had time to shoot a great 4.5 year old 9pt in velvet. Also while we were there Ben invited me to bring my son Jacob back for the Kentucky youth opener the following spring.

So fast forward to April 1st, 2011 Jacob and I packed up the vehicle and we headed west to the blue grass state with high anticipation! I had been talking with Ben and his scouting was paying big dividends as he had been seeing lots of longbeards frequenting the same locations. The weather forecast could not have been better as a low pressure system that had set in for several days was moving out and a high pressure system with some bluebird weather was moving in. After an 8 hour drive we finally arrived at Ben’s place. We unpacked and prepared our gear for the mornings hunt. Ben said he had a big surprise for Jacob in the morning and that he had roosted a bunch of turkeys.

It seemed like morning would never come as I waited for the alarm clock to go off at 5:00AM. Once it finally did we were up and ready in no time. After a short drive and a short walk we settled into the ground blind that Ben had set up based on his scouting. As the sky began to lighten up I don’t think Jacob was prepared for what he was about to experience. We the first gobbler sounded off it was followed by no less than 15 other gobblers. When it was all said and done at least 60 turkeys had flown down in the field in front of us. We had a few close calls. One turkey we named the roadrunner came sprinting to the decoy, then jumped up and flew a few feet, then came running back, and then ran off gobbling! He never really offered Jacob a good opportunity for a shot. What happened next is one of those priceless memories that you will never forget. After about an hour with Ben and I doing our best yelping and cutting we finally had a group of turkeys headed our way. There were four big longbeards in the group and I just knew it was finally going to happen! Well as the big toms got close to the king strut they came running in and began mixing in and out with each other. I told Jacob to just pick one put the red dot on his wattles and let it rip. Bang! Well he executed what I had said perfectly. The only problem was that in all of the excitement he had picked out the king strut as his target and he about shot the head off of my decoy! We were all laughing hysterically and when we finally stopped Jacob said “dad next time we should just put out the girl decoy”! Then we all started laughing again.

Well after that we decided it was time to take a break from turkey hunting and do some fishing. Jacob caught a half dozen bass and more bluegills than I could count. We had a great time fishing and enjoying the sunshine but I was getting nervous because the winds had picked up to 20 MPH. I was afraid it would shut down the afternoon hunt but Ben assured me that he had a spot where we could have some luck so after lunch we were back after those elusive Kentucky longbeards.

Ben has a new HuntVe 4X4 Dream Season edition so I opted to let Jacob drive us to the blind that afternoon. We were set up in no time flat and my only worry was that the high winds would blow away our king strut and shady lady decoys. Jacob started playing his video games and I waited about 20 minutes for things to settle down before I made my first call. Luckily I had everything ready because on my first series of yelps I was cut off by a gobbler that was not more than 50 yards behind us. Well Jacob’s game player went flying and I raced to get the camera on just as I saw the longbeard running to our decoy spread. I captured some great video and gave Jacob the green light. It would have been comical watching the big gobbler try to strut in the wind but I was about to have a heart attack waiting for my son to make the shot. Bang! When that gobbler dropped stone dead I was as excited as I have ever been while hunting! I had been waiting for this moment since the day Jacob was born and it had finally happened. He was so excited and his reaction was priceless!! We spent the rest of the day taking photos, letting him drive the HuntVe (which is awesome), and doing some more fishing. I could not have scripted his first turkey hunt any better!

A HUGE thank you goes out to Ben! Jacob and I will NEVER forget his first turkey hunt!

While we were there Ben also guided two other local youth hunters to their first turkeys. Congratulations again to both of them! Wow what a weekend!

Good hunting!
John