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PA Youth hunt / Success... well, sort of.

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PA Youth hunt / Success... well, sort of.

Old 04-24-2005, 01:29 PM
Typical Buck
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Central PA
Posts: 590
Default PA Youth hunt / Success... well, sort of.

It's now the day after Jr. day. Here's the way things went...

The players: My son, (age 12) and I, along with my hunting buddy his 13 year old son. Both boys are brand new turkey hunters.

Our setup: Half way down a ridge along a hollow that had birds talking in recent pre-season scouting mornings. We're there at 0445, hoping our parked vehicles will prevent anyone else from coming in on us. It's raining hard off and on. The first gobbler sounds off about 200 yards in the distance. It's too dark to see, but I tree call just to let him know we're there.

Another gobbler sounds about 30 minutes later, answering crows caw-cawing at the sunrise. This gobbler is a mere 100 yards from our set up. I tree call to him adding in a couple clucks and get two more gobblers to hammer off the limb no more than 55 yards from our hide. Things are looking very good.

A single hen decoy is about 20 yards from the boys, set by me under the cover of darkness. I do my best to project my mouth calls from her posistion. A real hen yelps out from her tree. I quickly scold her with a session of yelps, breaking into cutts. The hollow below sounds off with seven different gobblers making themselves known. The hen never challanges me and I fall silent, letting the gobblers voice their opinions.

It's now light enough to shoot. The gobblers have been talking for about 5 minutes with no replies from me. I use the wing and simulate a fly down. Three hardy gobbles from the nearest roosted birds result.

5 minutes later, the sound of real wings are on the ground. I cut, one gobbles, just as the first bird comes into view. He's a jake and in half strut. I tell my son to hold as the second bird comes into view. He's also a jake. Both birds exchange a few putts before spying our decoy. They've appeared below us at a short 15 yards. I'm hoping we don't become an object of interest before going to the decoy.

Less than a minute and bird #3 is on the scene. He's come up the same way as the other two and doesn't take kindly to them being there. At first I think he's mature, seeing that he is much bigger in body size, but his jake tail gives him away. He goes into strut and sports about a 4" beard. He pauses briefly to chase the other two away and then resumes a spit and drum for our decoys enjoyment under 20 yards.

I'm coaching my son to be still. He's doing well and decides he wants to take the big Jake. He's shot my new gun before and I hear the safety click off. I cluck to bring the Tom out of strut and the next sound, unfortunately, is a resounding "sch-click!" Neither of us knows what happened, other than the familiar "boom" was AWOL.

All 3 birds are at the decoy, and look right at us. They turn and cluck, I purr to calm them down... and soon have all three of them standing 10 feet in front of us. Good grief. I just wanted to calm them a bit, not invite them into our vests.

The gun's a semi, it needs to be manually recocked, and we have three gobblers staring into the little locust tree / bushes that we are using for cover. Needless to say, we didn't try to clear the action.

The birds stood there for what seemed an enternity, before moving off up to our left. We managed to get the action cleared and another round chambered just as the last gobbler crested the ridge. They never spooked, and we could have shot that last bird, but my son wanted to be sure it was the "boss" jake of the bunch. We couldn't be sure and he didn't shoot.

I learned something about about that semi yesterday that has me less than pleased. It would seem that while I set the decoy, the cocking bolt was pulled back less than a 1/4", probably snagged by my coat or vest. The "sch-click" we heard when my son pressed the trigger was that of the hammer falling to strike the firing pin, but instead of igniting the shell, used up the energy to push the bolt carrier back flush against the chamber. No different than trying to shoot a pump gun that isn't solidly closed. No boom.

Anyway, the bottom line was that both boys got to hear and see birds... on a less than perfect day as far as weather... and that both boys are still talking about the fun they had with watching those three jakes. That's what it's all about anyway.

I promised them it wouldn't be the last... and for my son, that the bolt will be closed. Fully, for when Mr. Longbeard shows up. Take a kid hunting whenever you can.
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Old 04-24-2005, 02:59 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: New York
Posts: 46
Default RE: PA Youth hunt / Success... well, sort of.

Sounds like a great day out in the woods. Still have the whole season ahead of you.
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Old 04-25-2005, 06:19 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Contoocook NH USA
Posts: 818
Default RE: PA Youth hunt / Success... well, sort of.

Man that's a bummer[&o] I'm bet you and your boys hearts were ready to explode with the excitement of the mornings action. You at least got to heard and see some good action up close and personal plus give your son a little dry run. From the sound of it, he handled the situation very well For me at his age, I'd would have probably done spooked the birds into the next county from trying to jack in another round.

You two will get into them again and I'm sure this situation won't happen again You'll be hearing that gun go "boom" and seeing the turkey roll next time! Let your son know I'm tipping my turkey hat to him for staying composed and for not trying to rushing that second chance he had. He knew what he wanted and didn't fall into the pressure of shooting just to tag a bird
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