The great outdoors provides many new and exciting experiences, for both those new to her majesty and the well-seasoned among us! A young Bobcat almost running over me after his episode with my very life-like Hen Turkey Decoy gave this writer a new appreciation for the power and speed displayed with this excited and motivated predator about to run over me! All outdoorsmen remember key moments of their past whether fishing or hunting with their close relatives or friends, life-threatening events experienced, or remembrances of past partners no longer with us. One such episode occurred earlier this year during the Youth Turkey Hunting season.
Bill Tosten, a well-seasoned outdoorsman and friend, told of he and his grandson, Briar Tosten, once again took to the woods to hunt the elusive Turkey. The past three years they had worked hard but fell short of taking a Tom! They had experienced the highs and lows of the hunt with many positive memories but more importantly were learning from their experiences in defeat! Failure is often the ultimate motivator but the pain of falling short hones the sharpest point leading to ultimate success.
Many weeks before opening day Bill will scout all the areas where he and Briar will have the opportunity to hunt, doing his best to put his grandson in the spot of greatest potential for action. Their scouting led them to the same farm where Bill had witnessed his two sons take their first Toms.
Opening day for the Youth Season, at daybreak, three Toms sounded off in the distance. After Bill felt the birds had hit the ground, he softly called with mouth diaphragm. The closest bird cut him off immediately! Bill advised the young Briar there was a good chance this bird would come their way. Within ten minutes, three hens came into their decoy set-up. Tom gobbled about one-hundred yards away! Briar was told to get ready! Almost instantly, the Tom had closed the distance to forty-five yards and was still coming! Bill’s worry then was getting Briar in position for a shot without spooking the three hens still in his decoys very close to their blind! The big monarch approached their position from the rear showing off for his girlfriends the entire time. As they positioned one of the hens noticed the movement and gave the heart wrenching alarm putt! It was now or never; the Big Tom was twenty-five yards distant and behind a large oak tree. Briar was advised to take a couple of deep breaths and raise his 410 slowly! Bill whispered to Briar to take the shot as soon as the bird clears the oak tree! The Tom emerged on the left side of the tree allowing Briar to take the shot! The bird hit the ground but still showed signs of life through his flopping on the ground. Bill told Briar to step on the birds’ neck to in effect to suffocate him shortening the time to finally expire!
Within moments, they were standing over a beautiful bird weighing nearly twenty-two pounds, over ten-inch beard and trophy class spurs! A true four-year-old trophy bird! What followed was a celebration both will remember for the rest of their lives! Briar was told he had done at nine years old what Bill had taken twenty-five years to do, in taking a mature bird! Although this was in fact, a trophy bird, they would have been just as ecstatic over a young Jake!
Bill admits this was one of his best experiences in the woods in taking his young grandson turkey hunting! He thanks God for his dad who took him into the outdoors and make him what he is today!
Exploits such as this are a true learning experience for a young hunter; to be able to spend time with his grandfather, learn the small techniques used to successfully take a bird making him a better hunter in the future and possibly short-cut the mistakes most of us have to learn for ourselves!
Thanks to Bill for sharing this experience, a truly magnificent moment in time, and a trophy-bird in the process!