Andy Taylor~Josh’s First Turkey

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.

Josh with his 17 1/2 pound turkey! Photo: Andy Taylor

Josh with his 17 1/2 pound turkey!
Photo: Andy Taylor

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.

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