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Hunting with Jakes

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I believe this was spring number 19 for me. I'm not sure if I've ever put as much thought into turkeys before. Over the seasons there have been fast limits, slow limits, bearded hen's and one or two birds of epic proportions. The only constant has been that I like hiking and prefer a long day in leather vs. almost any other method. I believe one of my earliest posts on this site mentioned a 17 mile day to find a ridge top bird. I still remember that shot like it was yesterday.

The past few seasons have been a gradual evolution. Knowing that sometime soon my days of climbing rocks and sneaking up on gobblers would be limited. I bought a box call, learned to use it and like it. Up close there were limitations due to sound, it was loud, and movement. Naturally mouth calls followed. I was ready this year.

The weekend before the opener I thought perhaps I'd wait a week or two and let the early season crowds have the first shot but when I woke up Sunday morning, looked at the weather forecast, looked at the calendar that had for months said “Ryan Gone”, I knew what I would do. Sunday was spent packing and working outside. Not one to waste the sun I waited until after dinner to start the truck and head to the northeast.

The drive is long but tonight was even longer. Extra bathroom stops, snack stops, leg stretching stops. My hopes of an early morning arrival faded. When most people were well into their morning I was having a coffee at a small town “bistro” with two cinnamon rolls across the table from me. Then more driving. As I worked my way up the river I stopped at a few unoccupied pieces of land, let out some chirps, ate more snacks and tried to keep the mood light. It was starting to feel like turkey hunting at a very slow pace. Eventually birds started appearing on the private ground and several flocks attempted suicide crossing the road and not looking both ways. I managed to avoid them. By 2pm I was working my way through state land to my destination. Not my favorite hunting spot but one that should meet the needs of this trip. And then it happened. Sitting in the timber was a flock of Jake's. A quick sneak was made. They didn't move. At 20 yards I was having second thoughts. Is this really what I want it to be. Opening day, no real effort, young birds? I looked through the flock and they were all about the same, two lined up perfectly. I wished I had my .410 or even the 20 gauge. I had come loaded to take any possible opportunity and didn't want to be under gunned for what could be a difficult hunt. The shot rang true and both tags were filled.

I was a little bittersweet about how things went but at the truck I quickly realized the right call was made. There, waiting for me, and having asked for the previous couple of years to go were my two boys 5 and 6. Each got “their first turkey”. We had another picnic lunch, taught lessons on field dressing game birds, and shot the BB gun.

Now that hunting was over we had to move campsites. I found a nice place on the river and got set up for the night. It was a first for all of us. Tent camping instead of a camper or motor home, me with the two boys and no mom. We fished, cooked over fires and in general had a great time. It may have been a touch windy but was otherwise beautiful.

The drive home was almost as long as the drive there. Nobody really slept despite my insistence. Traffic on I-5 at midnight reminded me of why I like certain parts of the state. 2024. Hunting with Jakes.

Life doesn’t get much better.

Sounds like a crazy but fun trip. One of those the  boys will remember when they get older.   Nice fish ( that isnt an adipose fin I can see is it? )

Great memories for all. Congrats

Good job on leading the way and getting it done for the young bucks. My father did the same for me when I was young and I've been rolling ever since. Way to pass it down and share the heritage. Enjoyed your story.


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