The following article was written by youth turkey hunter Aimee Domescik (age 13.) Aimee is an articulate 8th Grade student that lives in Auburn, Illinois. In her narrative, Aimee describes her successful turkey hunt that took place in Menard County on the first morning of the 2005 Illinois Heritage Youth Turkey Hunt. This was her second year of hunting and her second turkey, but she is not a typical youth hunter learning from an extended turkey-hunting family. Prior to her 2004 hunt, no member of her family had ever been on a turkey hunt!
For the past two years, Aimee has participated in the innovative “Operation Matchup” project of the New Salem Longbeards NWTF chapter, which pairs up young hunters with volunteer guides and/or participating landowners on an organized basis. Aimee’s father Randy now has his own turkey permit for the 2005 regular Illinois season, and her little brother Randall (age 8) was interested enough to come along this year on her hunt.
This is her story:
“ The early bird always catches the worm”! Well at least that’s what happened in my case. My Dad, brother, and I woke up at about 3:00 a.m. on Saturday, to get ready for the Menard County Youth Hunt. We got dressed, ate breakfast, brushed our teeth, loaded the car, and finally left. Ahead of us was a thirty to forty five minute drive to Salisbury, IL, which is where we would be hunting.
The night before we had driven up to Salisbury to roost the turkeys. My Dad tried a couple crow calls, then a couple owl calls, but there was no response. We hoped the reason for this occurrence had to do partly with the fierce winds and light rain. Anyway, as we were leaving my Dad spotted a dark spot in a tree adjacent to where we had been calling. He asked me if I could see it. My response at first, was no. He told me to look closer. Suddenly I saw a movement in the branches. I looked harder at the spot, and realized that it was a turkey. My Dad looked around to see if there were anymore, and to his delight there were two more in a nearby tree. We now had our spot where we would setup. We knew that the key to a successful hunt was to set up before the turkey were out of their roost.
We arrived at our hunting spot at about 4:30 a.m., carrying all of our gear the three of us walked down to our spot, which was a quarter mile away. It was starting to get light out, and we knew that we had to hurry. My Dad started calling at about 5:00. He called on and off for about twenty minutes. We heard gobbles all around us, and then suddenly two jakes flew out of their roost, and landed in the field about one hundred yards from us. My dad called a couple more times, but when he saw that they had noticed the decoys he stopped. Both of the jakes kept coming towards the decoys. When they got near the decoys my Dad said, “shoot at anytime”. I waited until they were in between the decoys. The barrel of my 20 gauge Remington 870 Express Youth Model, was sticking out of the front window of the tent. The butt of the gun was pressed against my shoulder. I waited ‘til I had a clear shot of the bigger Jake. The smallest one tilted its head down and that’s when I knew I had to shoot. My heart began to race. I placed the bead right on the larger Jake’s head. “Bam”! I knocked the turkey down.
I turned my head and saw that the other Jake was still standing there. The three of us made as much movement as possible in the tent to scare it away, but it didn’t move. My brother then got out of the tent to scare it away and that’s when it finally ran off. I got my turkey at about 5:30 a.m. This just goes to show that if you have the right spot,” The early bird always catches the worm”. “Oops I did it again”!!
Special Thanks to Dennis Kennedy for letting me hunt on his land for the past two years, and in those two years I have harvested a turkey.
Photos by Randy Domescik
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