By: Brennen Nading (@nadingbr)
Yesterday was a good day, it was the first day of the Wisconsin Youth Turkey Hunt, and I was fortunate enough to tag along with my brother and his 2 kids. My niece Sawyer harvested her first turkey last year, and she was ready to get back in the woods and try to do it again. In the on-deck circle was my nephew Hudson, who is a pretty accomplished outdoorsman at his young age already having harvested several deer and turkeys.
The weather was about as good as you could ask for in Wisconsin this time of year. Temperatures were in the high 20s at sunrise and would rise into the mid 40s yesterday afternoon. Calm conditions and clear skies made it very tolerable for the kids to stay comfortable. Off the roost, we planned to head to a spot where my brother had been scouting birds the week prior. A ground blind was situated a couple hundred yards from where we anticipated the birds to be roosting.
We heard roughly 5-6 different birds gobbling in the tree yesterday. 1 of them was solo, gobbling roughly 100 yards behind us in the timber. The rest of the birds were roosted fairly close to each other and they sounded to be about 300-400 yards away. Once it was legal shooting light, a few tree yelps and a fly down cackle was all it took. The lone tom that was closer than the rest, pitched down behind us and came in on a string. The bird strutted past the ground blind just 3-4 yards away and walked into the decoys. Sawyer took her time, and made an excellent shot on the bird while it was strutting around in the decoys.
Sawyer was pretty excited, so much so that she wanted us to run her home so she could show off to her mother, grandma, and grandpa. By the time we got her back to the house, listened to her telling the story to everyone, it was pushing 8:30. My brother, Hudson and myself were ready to get back in the woods and see if we could strike up another one.
We walked into a piece of public ground that historically has pretty good to us in the spring. We approached the property on the ridge, with the plan of setting up on a field edge and calling into the large timber beneath us. We hadn’t been calling for very long and a tom cut-off the call. The first time he answered he was a long ways off, likely 500 yards of better. Waited a few minutes and hit him with another call, this time he answered, and he had closed the gap FAST. He was inside 200 yards and at the base of the hill. It wasn’t long and we could hear him spitting and drumming CLOSE, but directly behind us. I watched the bird out of the corner of my eye as he strutted to the field edge. For whatever reason, he didn’t like the decoy set up and began skirting behind us. Hudson was able to get turned around and made a great shot on the bird at 25 yards.
You couldn’t really ask for a better youth hunt. 2 set-ups and 2 gobblers down! If you’ve never taken a child hunting, the time is now! Turkey hunting is an excellent opportunity to get kids in the woods and show them why we love this great sport of hunting!