Owen Flanders

Owen Flanders carrying his first turkey after a morning hunt with his Uncle Toby.

The 2020 youth spring turkey season has come and gone and I’m proud to report lots of success across the state by youth hunters and their mentors. My social media accounts have been filled with pictures and stories of young hunters wearing some awfully big grins while posing with some mighty handsome birds. Even my own 8-year-old nephew, Owen Flanders of Inverness, scored a trophy gobbler on his first sitting of the season and the excitement was off the chain!

My morning with Owen dawned chilly on some property I have access to on the west side of our county. A bit after first light, we heard our first gobble ring out from nearly 200 yards out. I offered him some sweet hen talk on an aluminum surfaced pot call I’d picked up at a local turkey expo from my buddy Kevin Vaughn at Spring King Calls … and it did the trick. That gobbler hollered out at us a few more times and I spotted him fly down across a broom-sage field in our general direction. I nudged my wide-eyed little buddy and told him to get ready.

Owen leaned well forward in his chair and lifted the ancient Stevens .410 I’d loaned him into position and stared hard into the field searching for the gobbler. I picked up my caller and stroked a few soft yelps to the tom and within minutes, we could see him appear from the broom-sage and enter the woodline where our blind was situated, beneath a wide reaching live oak tree. I spotted him coming in first and whispered to Owen he was coming close. There was a palmetto bush in Owen’s way and he was bobbing his head side to side, straining to see the gobbler, but as soon as the big gobbler stepped into the clear, Owen froze, his eyes wide and I could see him beginning to tremble.

I reached around him to steady and calm him and as the gobbler stopped, and looked at the blind from 15 steps away. Owen took the slack out of his trigger and invited that big rascal home for supper. I grabbed him up in a bear hug and that little feller was trembling all over with a victory shout that he had just taken his first turkey! He is surely hooked on the hunt now and anxious to get back to the blind to do it again. That adrenaline can be addicting and Owen surely has become addicted to turkey hunting.

His trophy gobbler, for youth is one to be proud of; a solid 2-year-old gobbler sporting inch-long spurs and an 8 1/2-inch beard. I’ve got the carcass processed for the table, am mounting his fan and beard for Owen to display at home and look forward to taking him again. I love that little guy!

As always, I’d surely love to hear from you if you have any feedback or maybe a story of your own you’d like to share, at RebelYellOutdoors@Gmail.com. God bless and good hunting!

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