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March 21: Jacob O'Dell

Well Jacob and I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of turkey season here in Texas for weeks! Due to family obligations at home we were only going to be able to hunt Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. We were still very confident in our chances for success as we were going to be hunting with our good friend Kyle Nunn at Rain Creek Ranch  in the Texas Hill Country near Brady Texas. The ranch is over 3,000 acres and is loaded with whitetail deer, exotics (free range axis deer and blackbuck antelope), and lots of Rio Grande turkeys.

Jacob and I had hunted there in April 2013 and he was able to harvest a jake and a really nice Axis buck. We had seen so many jakes that we just knew that we had to come back for the youth weekend in 2014, so fast forward to the afternoon on March 22nd and we were finally on our way to the ranch. When we arrived Kyle had set us up with our guide Sam for the weekend. He told us that there were turkeys all over the ranch. That was the good news. The bad news is that mother nature was doing her best to make our hunt more challenging as we had high winds, rain, and cooler weather than we would have liked. None of that really mattered as I was hunting with my son in Texas and we were already having a blast! So we devised a strategy for the afternoon and the hunt was on.

I decided to set up a Big Game Redemption blind near a water tank that was covered in turkey droppings The plan was to sit until Jacob shot a turkey or until legal shooting time ended whichever came first. If we did not see anything I would try to roost some turkeys for the next morning. Jacob brought his PSE Fever bow and his 20 gauge shotgun. He really wanted to attempt to harvest his first turkey with a bow if the birds were cooperating and if not he would use the shotgun. We set up the Flambeau decoys and we sat in the blind from 3:00PM until the last 45 minutes of legal shooting time without seeing any turkeys and without hearing a single gobble. We had been glassing with our Nikon binoculars and calling every so often on our MAD Super Aluminator to no avail.

Finally, I told Jacob that I was going to take the MAD Coyote howler and go roost some birds for the morning hunt if possible, so I put the camera and the rest of our gear away in the blind. I had no sooner unzipped the blind and stepped out when movement caught my eye about 80 yards away. I threw up my Nikon binoculars and sure enough it was a Rio longbeard. Fortunately for me he did not see me dressed head to toe in my trusty Mossy Oak Obsession camo and by some miracle I was able to get back in the blind and get the camera out of the bag and back on the camera arm just as 4 longbeards came running in. Holy chaos! Jacob and just put his bow away so he grabbed the shotgun. The big toms started beating up our Flambeau flocked King Strut decoy and when I gave Jacob the green light he shot one of the longbeards at 10 steps. After the shot one of the gobblers charged in to beat up his fallen buddy and Jacob asked if he could shot him too. I gave him the green light and he had his first turkey double ever! Jacob was as excited as I have ever seen him while turkey hunting and I caught it all on film. One of the toms had a nice double beard which was also a first for my son. It was an experience neither one of us will ever forget.

A hung thank you goes out to Kyle, Sam, and the Rain Creek Ranch. We will definitely be back!

Be safe and good hunting! – John and Jacob