Delaware Youth Day Turkey Hunting Saturday April 4, 2015
By .. James Blackstock
I set out this last Saturday for the Delaware youth day turkey hunt with my favorite hunting partner, my daughter Chloe. We have a special little spot that we traditionally like to go to, but the turkeys seem to have vanished from that spot, well at least so far this season. We have not been seeing any birds there so far, and our trail cameras have only shown us a few deer, some raccoons, lots of squirrels, and a lonely groundhog, but not a single turkey. That’s why it’s always good to have a plan B tucked into the pocket of your favorite camouflage pants.
We had hoped to begin the morning by viewing the blood moon eclipse, but it was not visible in our location due to a passing storm front. The cloud cover only offered us a red haze of clouds. The weather was still a comfortable 65 degrees when we woke up, but it cooled of a few degrees as the morning went on as the storm front moved thru, bringing along with it 25 mph winds and some light rain. This is a great time to have a ground blind at your disposal to hunt from, and our Ameristep blind kept us both dry and comfortable.
Wind makes for tough hunting, regardless the game. Not only are our decoys a little more lively out there then we would like too see, often spinning into “turkey tornadoes” as my daughter would call them. It certainly makes calling that much more difficult. The wind seems to put the turkeys on edge, and they seem to be less talkative.
Not only does the wind make it difficult to hear the turkeys calling off in the distance, but they often can’t hear your calls either. We opted to put away our slate and mouth calls, and primarily used the box call as it can cut through the wind a little better. We knew we would have to be patient, calling occasionally in hopes of an eventual reply. Once the rain cleared and the sun started to make its appearance about 9am we heard our first gobbles.
The turkeys were about 150 yards off when we first heard them, and of course, not where we thought they would be roosting. Another few quick yelps on the box call and they were headed our way. When we realized they were starting to close the distance, we tuned back the calling just a bit. In my opinion, It is possible to call too much once they are getting in close. Sometimes “less is more” when it comes to calling. It didn’t take long and two nice toms popped out of the woods line, cautiously scanning the field to determine who they had been talking too. My daughter made a couple soft calls and the turkeys gobbled at close range, puffing themselves up into full strut once they saw our decoys. The look on her face when she gets a response when she is the one doing the calling is absolutely priceless. They two toms worked their way along the edge of the woods towards the decoy spread, but as things sometimes happen, we were just never given a clean opportunity at a shot, despite the birds only being within 30 yards.
I learned a long time ago that you cannot base the success of a hunt solely on if you are successful in harvesting game. I know my daughter understands that’s not what’s important either. For this special hunt, the memories made spending time together far outweigh any trophy. She loves getting up early, setting up the blind and the decoys, using the turkey calls, and listening to all the sounds of nature as the woods wakes up just before sunrise. (All true outdoorsmen know just what I’m talking about.). I just love spending time with her, and all though she still hasn’t managed to get a bird on the ground, it just doesn’t seem to matter at all. I know she just enjoys being in the outdoors with her daddy, and I just don’t think there’s anything better than that.