The National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) and the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge recently hosted youth hunters for the first ever Youth Hunt & Learn Weekend – Turkey event. I was asked to mentor a young man on this, his first turkey hunt. We had a turkey 101 class the night before the hunt. I then gave a hunter-ed class to those hunters that had not received a certificate. We paired up and had dinner then went home for the evening.
The next day we met at the refuge HQ and went to out assigned zone. The first day was uneventful. We walkedn10 miles looking for a bird but nothing. On the morning of the second day I could hear a mature bird way back in a flooded bottom. We walked the ridge but nothing. About 9 AM. Josh Arnold, his father and I set up in an oak flat and just listened. After about 15 min we had a boss hen coming up from our back side. I gave out a few soft purrs and some feeding clucks. The hen, a mature tom and a Jake walked off to our right rear back down into the bottom. I gave them 5 minutes and tarted with some clucks but very soft. The hen and Jake returned and started to walk up a small draw directly towards us. They got 35 yards out to our front and I gave Josh the decision to shoot or go home empty handed. Since this was his first hunt I told him to shoot now or let him walk. He dropped him with a single shot from my Benelli SBE with a Kicks choke necked down to .655, with Winchester 3.5 inch Long Beard #5 load. The bird weighed in at 17.5 pounds. This was the only bird taken by 10 hunters over a day and a half.
Josh made the cover to the Savannah Wildlife Hunting guide.