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A Father's Tale

HouganpicToday's "Give Us The Bird" contest photo comes from Michael Hougan of South Euclid, Ohio. Pictured are Michael and his 10-year-old son Rory after the boy took his first turkey as part of the state's youth hunt on April 29th. It was only Rory's second hunt, but his first bird, a 14-pound jake.

To read Michael's first-person account of this memorable day, click on the "continued" link below.

In the meantime, be sure to send us your best turkey hunting picture for a chance to win a turkey hunter prize pack that includes a Pretty Boy decoy from Carry-Lite, as well as some awesome calls from Hunter's Specialties, Knight & Hale, Quaker Boy, Primos, Woodhaven Custom Calls and Woods Wise. For complete details and rules, click here.

A Father’s Tale

I had the wonderful opportunity to take my son, Rory, on a youth turkey hunt this season. I purchased this hunt from my brother Matt's Special Youth Challenge Banquet in January. We traveled down to Pike County and met up with a wonderful man, Roger Swift. Roger runs another turkeyhunter forum at www.Ohioturkeyhunter.net.

Saturday was a tough hunt, did not get any birds to gobble and it made for a real long morning. Rory spent most of the morning sleeping against me. It was so quiet, we passed on the evening hunt. Roger and I went out Saturday evening to try to roost some birds, but nothing was moving. No cackling, no wing beats on fly ups and yes NO gobbling at roost time.

Sunday, we started out setting up on another piece of property and what a difference a day made. We had gobblers screaming all around us, but nothing close. After 30 minutes, Roger and I decided to make a move toward the closest bird. We sneaked through some thickets to another open field and set up again. But still no luck, the bird would gobble at our calls, but he just wouldn’t make the trip across the field.

We decided to try to get to the fencerow that the bird was hung up on. It was still no go, but it wasn’t long before we stirred up another bunch of birds. There had to be five or six birds gobbling at the same time and only 200 yards away. It sounded like they had a very agitated hen among them that helped keep them fired up.

After another 30 minutes of this great audio show, we decided to swing back to the far side of Roger’s property and try to get on the backside of this group. Sure enough after a short 20 minute hike, we went into stealth mode—well at least our best imitation of stealth with my big 15-sized boots and a clumsy 10-year-old in tow.

We snuck up as the group suddenly gobbled from nearby. Roger motioned for us to quickly sit down at the nearest tree. I put my back against the closest large tree and Rory sat in front of me resting is back against my chest. What an awesome moment for me to watch over my sons shoulder as he brings his 20-gauge Mossberg (NWTF Jake Gun the Year 2005) over the group. The mature toms made us out and started to putt and march away, but a jake at the rear of the flock stopped a mere 20 paces away.

As soon as the bird turned and showed us his stubby beard, I whispered to Rory that it was a jake and that it was now or never. His load of #5 heavy shot blasted forward and rolled his first turkey. Once we knew the bird was down for good, we put the safety back on the gun and the celebration began.

I cannot thank Roger enough for supporting Matt's SYC Banquet and donating this hunt, as well as all of the hard work he put into making this a memorable hunt for Rory and myself. Boy, I just love watching my boys enjoy this great sport of hunting.

Again, thanks Roger and good shooting Rory.


Greg Russell

What an AWESOME story, and what a tribute to a little boy`s hunger for time spent with his father, and a fathers devotion to his son. You both are blessed to have each other.

And Rory-CONGRATULATIONS! Well done.