His first (and second) Turkey Hunting Tom


Sep 17, 2013
I have two younger neighbors who are both named Caleb. Caleb C. and Caleb T. are brother-in-laws. Caleb C. has posted on this forum as Capt. Cook. He has only recently started hunting and has hunted and shot deer on my property. Caleb T., grew up in a family that hunted but seems mostly self taught and wants to learn and experience much more.

I took Caleb T. turkey hunting yesterday on the first day of our spring turkey season. Although Caleb had, by chance, shot a tom while bow hunting for deer, he had never gotten a turkey while turkey hunting.

Since I had been sick, I didn’t have a chance to do any real preparation like put up any pop-up blinds, or move an mobile blinds around, or put in any distance marker stakes. In fact, I only got my hunting gear around after dinner the night before.

So, we went up on the hill behind the barn. I put Caleb T. in the “Shooting Hut” and I went on over to the small wooden blind under a pine tree near the south west end of the field. I set out two hen decoys and one jake decoy in front of my blind.

After I set up the decoys I crawled into the blind and got my calls out of my pockets. As I went to set down the box call, I bumped it and it made a cluck. A tom immediately cobbled straight down the hill from me. It was a good start to a great morning.

To make a long story short, two hens and a tom came up out of the woods below me and headed east toward Caleb T. in the “shooting hut”. Unfortunately, the tom stayed at the edge of the woods and never came into the field close enough to allow Caleb a shot. The closest he came to Caleb was the very corner of the woods below the “shooting hut” about 50 yards away. Caleb had put a self-imposed distance limit on himself of 30 yards. The turkeys dropped back down into the woods and made a circle to the west and came back out of the woods just below me again. Again, at the edge of the woods, the tom was too far (60-65 yds.) for me to get a shot. Again, they headed for Caleb T. This time I tried harder to call them toward me. When the hen turkeys got to the "shooting hut, and the tom turkey got the corner of the woods, the hens turned back toward me and started in my direction. The tom decided he didn’t want to be left behind and come up into the field to follow the hens back to west toward me. Big mistake, because that took him within 25-30 yards of the “shooting hut”.

I was very impressed that Caleb made a lot of good decisions during the morning that resulted in a good clean shot. He had numerous opportunities to take a bad shot, call at the wrong time, or be seen. But, he practiced patience, kept his cool, and ended up with a nice turkey. He was, of course, very excited and extremely happy to have finally bagged a tom while turkey hunting.

Here is Caleb coming out of the "shooting hut".


Here is the view from the shooting hut to where the tom was when Caleb shot.





The spurs were 1-1/4" longs.

Congratulations Dan and Caleb T.. Dan I believe that your efforts mentoring these young hunters will be rewarded at least ten fold for years to come. Great hunt and keep up the good work. Rol
You gotta' love it when a plan comes together. Congratulations to the two of you. Looks perfect, Dan.
I took Caleb T. hunting again this morning. We heard some (and I saw one) coming off the roost they wouldn't respond to our calls. About 10:00 AM while we were "walking and talking" we got a response. The tom was on a hill the other side of a small meadow and was definitely interested in our calls but wouldn't cross the meadow to come to us. I had Caleb do a loop around and come in a tractor road above the tom. I stayed put and kept the tom preoccupied with my calling. Caleb was able to keep track of the bird when the tom gobbled back at me. When Caleb got close he called the tom into him and made a nice clean shot. I was real proud of how well Caleb handled himself.


His boys were pretty interested in the whole thing. Future hunters for sure.

Excellent, Dan. Looks as if the student has absorbed the lessons you taught him.
Congratulations Dan and Caleb. Smoked turkey for sure.
Good job fellas!