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April 8: Kyle Lamore & JJ Kolesar

The opening day of Illinois’ second spring turkey season has always been good to Kyle and JJ. This year would be no different.

JJ and Kyle’s good friend Chris invited the guys back to his farm where they’ve killed long beards for the past five years. He even offered to run camera for them despite having an unfilled tag himself. Who wouldn’t want a buddy like that?

Before first light, the guys were settled into their blind overlooking a cut corn field. They had staked an Avian-X jake decoy out at 15 yards and sat in the early morning stillness waiting for first light. As daylight crept across the farm, the gobblers began sounding off from their roost along the creek.

Soon the toms were pitching down but being escorted away from Kyle, JJ and Chris by the hens. The boys weren’t worried though. They knew they’d just need to be patient and stick to their guns. Eventually the long beards would come.

After a few hours, a little snacking, some deep meditation (or maybe it was just napping), JJ noticed two gobblers following a hen coming into the field. Once those old birds saw the decoy, they ditched the hen and made a bee line for confrontation.

As they were approaching, Kyle and JJ clarified their typical plan of Kyle taking the bird on the left and JJ the one on the right…all on the count of three. Chris started the camera rolling and stayed on the long beards as they moved in and began circling the decoy.

Finally the birds separated enough for Kyle and JJ to each get their respective shots off with their Winchester SX3 shotguns, though this is where the story may diverge a bit based on who’s telling it. The countdown to three happened and Kyle maintains it was a full three count, but he shot his bird first sending JJ’s running. JJ’s perspective was that it was more of a rushed, partial countdown and Kyle took the shot just a shade early. In the end, it didn’t matter. After a ten yard bolt, JJ’s tom stopped to inspect the scene just long enough to get peppered and drop from the #6 pellets in his Winchester Long Beard XR load.

The guys kept their opening day success streak alive in Illinois with the help of their buddy Chris. They doubled up and had a great time doing it.

As told to Tim Kjellesvik.