Father/Son Turkey Hunt In Bertie County, NC Nets a Boy His First Bird

Ryan McOwen, First Turkey, April 17, 2013, Bertie County, NC
Ryan McOwen, First Turkey, April 17, 2013, Bertie County, NC

I couldn’t have scripted it any better!

My son Ryan and I have been trying to bag his first gobbler for three years now and though we have had some misses and some close calls have never been able to close the deal, till now.

Last Wednesday my good friend Josh Kilpatrick treated us to the hunt of a lifetime on his family farm in Bertie County, NC.  The Saturday before we had hunted the back of the farm and tagged a nice gobbler, so we knew where they were, and where to set up.  Last Tuesday, my son Ryan and I as well as Josh’s nephews Bond and Hosea Wilson headed to the turkey woods to brush in our blinds and get set for the next days hunt. We slipped right back into the field where Josh and I called up a Tom the Saturday before and proceeded to set up for the perfect ambush.

Nothing better to put a kid in than a comfortable ground blind, brushed in with fresh vegetation.  They can fidget and fuss about with little chance of spooking a weary bird. The morning had a slow start with a thick fog and a late fly down off the roost, but about 7:30 some birds began to filter out into the field. Ryan started to get pretty fired up as the two males made their way up into the decoy. I recently purchased a Flambeau “King Strut” decoy and used a real fan as the tail piece and gracious me a Tom just can’t take it, it drives them crazy.  There was a large blow down right next to blind which obstructed the view and provided enough cover for Ryan to slip his gun barrel out of the slit in the front of the blind.  The two toms worked up behind the Decoy and into range without a hint of their looming fate.

Ryan whispered “can I shoot him” and I gave him the go ahead…BOOM, and that was she wrote. Ryan shucked the empty shell, put the gun on safety and held his arms wide open to give me a big hug. He was so happy and I couldn’t have been more proud of him. For the next couple of hours he was a “rock star” showing everyone in Windsor his trophy bird. I can’t explain it but there is something about sharing a successful hunt with a kid that anchors an unshakeable bond.

I’ve had the pleasure of watching Ryan bag his first deer, his first squirrel, his first duck, and now his first turkey, I truly am a blessed man!  Don’t forget to take a kid into the woods with you this spring, they’ll love you for it!