Minden Press-Herald

Tuesday
Sep 30th

Rewards of helping hunter’s bag first gobblers

Spring turkey season 2014 is in the books and unless you hunt states further north, you'll have to wait until next spring to chase gobblers again.

Although Louisiana gobblers thumbed their beaks at me this season, a couple in Texas made my season sweet.

As much as I love turkey hunting and relish the thrill of calling a gobbler to my gun, I have discovered an even greater thrill, and that's helping other hunters bag their first birds.

On a chilly windy March day twelve years ago, I accepted the challenge of taking Ruston's Jody Backus to his lease and attempting to help him get his first gobbler. I remember that day being a lot like the weather we endured this past hunting season, unseasonably cool and blustery.

After a couple of set-ups that produced nothing, we placed the decoy out along an old woods road with Backus in front of me and me in back doing the calling. After half an hour with no results, I was ready to head for the truck and turn on the heater because it was downright chilly.

He and I stood to gather our gear when I saw something that caused me to sharply whisper, "Sit down and get your gun up." A gobbler had stepped out into the road 100 yards away in full strut. In picture-book fashion, the old boy strutted up to the decoy and Backus claimed his first gobbler.

The following year, I was invited to host a youngster on a youth hunt on Jackson Bienville wildlife management area. Twelve year old Sarah Hebert from Minden was my assigned youth hunter.

I placed a jake and hen decoy out front and waited for daylight. A gobbler answered my wake-up calls, flew down and marched right up to the decoy, intent on teaching the jake decoy a lesson. Sarah's shot was perfect and I still have the mental image of her grinning as she packed her heavy trophy over her slender shoulder on her walk back to the truck.

Fast forward to the season just ended. Vic and Carla Johnston are friends who allow me to fish their pond on property where I have turkey hunted in the past. Trail camera images during deer season captured images of several gobblers on the property and since Vic was not interested in chasing gobblers, Carla was and she asked if I'd consider guiding her, to which I readily agreed.

On a scouting trip prior to season, we heard a gobbler and I instructed her on how we might call him to her gun when season opened.

I accompanied Carla on two hunts without success; we heard one distant gobble and that was it. In the meantime, I headed to hunt in Texas and was pleased to hear from Carla that she was going to try it on her own.

Not only did she hear a gobbler but successfully called it in and was able to settle the sight on her husband's 12 gauge Remington on the gobbler, dropping him in his tracks at 19 yards.

I regret not being able to be with Carla when she downed her first gobbler but am thankful I was able to serve as her mentor on earlier hunts, hoping that a little of my instructions rubbed off on her.

Now that Carla Johnston has a turkey fan and beard hanging in her den, will this be her last venture into the spring turkey woods?

Her response to my question. "Turkey hunting again? You betcha." Just like that, another turkey hunting junkie is born.

Glynn Harris Outdoors is proudly sponsored by DSK, Ltd. of Minden.

 

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