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Somewhere in Wisconsin there’s a gobbler strutting around with a softball sized hole in his tail fan, courtesy of an earnest young turkey hunter named Derek Glesinger. 

13 year old Derek is the son of DOD field staff Greg Glesinger. The father and son duo have been chasing Wisconsin long beards since Derek was nine, but up until this year, he’d not been able to kill a bird. 

Incidentally, sticking with turkey hunting for four years before bringing home a beard makes Derek a legit hunter in my book. 

On April 9th, 2016 the two were hunkered down in a blind scanning the snow blanketed woods listening for gobbling to pierce the 20 degree morning air. Three toms obliged them but hung up at 80 yards. They decided to head back in and give it another try at 4:30. 

That afternoon, with the help of a Flambeau Tom and a Shady Lady decoy, they got two birds within 40 yards. This was going to be Derek’s moment; the streak was about to end. He squeezed off a shot, sending feather fragments into the air as the two turkeys ran off. 

Heartbroken but undaunted, Derek agreed to scope out a nearby farm. Immediately they spotted seven birds. Greg told Derek he didn’t think they could get setup on these birds without busting them. Derek countered with, “We won’t know if we don’t try.”

Amazed at his son’s practicality, Greg put him on the field edge and started calling with his MAD Aluminator from a location further back in the woods. To Greg’s amazement (maybe not so much Derek’s) three gobblers peeled away and did a U-turn to come running to the call. Derek didn’t have time to sit down. He remained leaned against a tree clad head to toe in Mossy Oak camo while he waited for what could be his first turkey kill. 

At twelve yards Greg clucked to stop the still running toms…which they did. This time, Derek and his Winchester 20 gauge pump were on target. The gobbler crumpled in place as did four years of pursuing but never killing a turkey. 

There may be a turkey in Wisconsin now showing off his battle scar from a close encounter with young Derek Glesinger, but he’d better watch his step. I doubt the beard and spurs Derek scored this spring will be the last he collects. 

Way to go Derek!