Two-and-a-half year old Cameron Drury squinted in the April sunlight as he gazed at Matt’s recently killed tom. With equal parts curiosity and awe he noted, “That’s not good.”

In that moment, Matt’s journey as a father in a hunting family had begun in earnest. Like Terry with him years before, he was getting the privilege of watching his son learn to love the outdoors.

The gobbler was the product of Matt’s hunt with DOD field staffers Chris Comstock and Chad Kilmer. The three were hunting Chris’ Missouri farm where Chris had roosted seven birds a couple nights before. They set up on a historically hot spot where two fields meet at the corner of a food plot. The fence line had a gap in it that the turkeys liked to travel through, making it the perfect spot to deploy the Muddy ground blind.

With a spread of Avian-X decoys placed in the field 25 yards in front of them, first light crept over the farm. Gobblers began sounding off, revealing their locations, but they weren’t where Matt and crew had hoped. Once the toms pitched down, Chris began his calling sequence.

The two toms out ahead of them that they thought would come ended up way out on a hillside moving in the wrong direction. While those turkeys were walking away, two others were working toward them from behind the blind. It was too late to pull down windows and a hen had showed up behind them too, clucking in dislike of the blind now blocking her path through the fence.

The guys thought the hunt was over until Chris pointed to the front of the blind and whispered excitedly, “He’s right there!”

At 60 yards, the long beards had found another spot to cross and were locked in on the Avian-X Breeder. Armed with his 20 gauge Winchester SX3, Matt set the cross hairs of his Nikon scope on the tom’s neck at 36 yards. A fist of #5 shot from Winchester’s new Long Beard XR 20 gauge load clobbered the bird and dropped him on contact.

Killing that turkey was really just the cherry on top of a trip to the farm with Matt’s wife and two kids. It was a chance for him to share a deep part of who he is with the people he loves the most. It was also a rite of passage for him as the father of his own family.

And that is good.

As told to Tim Kjellesvik