After 2 years and 4 seasons of unsuccessful tries, 2 birds missed and including 2011 season being one of the hardest seasons I've ever seen in Iowa to call in a bird, the 2012 youth season has paid off resulting in my 13 year old daughter bagging her first ever long beard. It was a very miserable morning in Iowa. After asking my daughter what she wanted to do, she was strong minded that we was hunting this morning regaurdless of the weather. Storms moving in misting rain then hard rain for few minutes then let off to drizzle and mist. wind started to blow shortly after daybreak which by then we was both soaking wet and cold. I had set up a jake and hen decoy about 15 yards off in front of her and to my left and we sat at the same tree so i could communicate to her easily if needed. at one point about 1-1/2 hours in had leaned over and asked her if she was ready to head out, birds had quit gobbling , weather was picking up again, and didn't figure anything was going to happen at this point. she replied, " no, i'm not ready and getting my bird today dad." reluctantly i said ok.
Another 30 minutes or so had passed as i called a little here n there, trying not to over due it, had noticed she had fallen asleep on my left shoulder. Through the wind i thought at one point i could here drumming behind me but not being able to locate it or see it wrote it off as the wind playing tricks. just a few minutes had passed and i caught something out of the corner of my left eye. slowly turning my head there he was aggresivly posturing my jake decoy, not making a sound. He had snuck in on me un noticed.
Trying not to startle my daughter i slowly nudged her and whispered don't move he's right there, but she blurts out, " HUH!" which of course alerts the tom whom now is folding up and headed out to her left behind me. I tell her to shoot him as I'm rolling over on my knees to see behind the tree. She gets her gun up as i started to putt and cut furiously trying to slow him up, which amazingly stops him dead in his tracks as she shoots with her 870 20ga and just folds him. I couldn't believe my eyes, stepped it off around 35 yards, quite a shot for a 20 ga i think, I'm here to tell ya it was a pretty dang good shot, i thought there he goes he's gone, but she had other plans!!
She's pretty dang proud of this bird, and has worked hard for it over a 3 year total period, 24lbs, 1-1/8" spur and 10" beard. I guess 3rd times a charm after all. I've also been notified by her that I need to mount her feathers and beard, and she's already talking about next season. Taking kids out is the very best!!! Definitely a hunt that my daughter and I will remember for years to come!!
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