An Outdoorsman’s Journal: First Turkey

An Outdoorsman's Journal

Mark Walters, Contributor

This small pond is a popular spot for the local turkey flock.

Follow along each week on the adventures of Mark Walters, a syndicated outdoor adventure columnist who lives in Necedah, Wisconsin. He began writing his column, An Outdoorsman’s Journal, in 1989. It includes hunting, fishing, lots of canoeing and backpacking. He currently writes for around 60 newspapers on a weekly basis. He hopes you enjoy reading about his adventures!

Hello friends,

This past week I spent a lot of time in the turkey blind with Michelle Chiaro who was hoping to harvest her first turkey and with my 20-year old daughter Selina who has was hoping to harvest her ninth.

Wednesday, May 5th
High 53, Low 28

Ruby’s water bowl was froze over when I put her on the chain at 4:30 this morning and fifteen minutes later Michelle Chiaro who is an ICU nurse and a mother with a very limited time frame to hunt and myself were in our blind in northern Juneau County.

I have written this many times but when Selina was ten we carved out a food plot in a neighbors forest and had incredible turkey hunting. That land was sold and our ability to hunt it is not as easy as the new owners are starting to get into turkey hunting.

The food plot that I created directly behind my house last year is going to be a dandy but it has a ways to go which I found out while hunting it last week. I filled my tag on the last day but that was my only experience.

So long story short I was able to get permission for Michelle and Selina to hunt the old plot and Selina very graciously said Michelle should have it to herself for the first two days.

So now it is 5:00 a.m. Michelle and I are in the blind and there is some gobbling from what appears to be about five birds but they are all at least a half a mile away. I have an ace in the hole and it is a small pond that every turkey, deer and bobcat in the area likes to drink out of. I put trail cameras up on it two week’s ago and got some very cool photos.

This jake might be one that Selina Walters let live another day.

It’s 7:30 there is not as much gobbling but some of it seems closer. I have a jake decoy with the tail from the bird I shot the day before fanned out behind it and the jake is next to a hen.

Just like that we hear a tom gobble maybe 80-yards away in the oak forest and just like that we have four jakes and five toms coming into our setup in a single file row and already two jakes are attacking the decoy and what I call a “Super Tom” is two seconds from being in range and then it is.

Michelle fired my 12-gauge and then shot again and both shots appeared to hit the gobbler but just like that all nine of them are gone.

I told her we had to be patient, you do not want to push a wounded bird. While we were waiting a beautiful bearded hen came in with a tom but the shooting was over. After 15 minutes we began a quiet sneak and soon saw many of the gobblers in the area where Michelle’s bird had gone. We went back and waited another 15-minutes and then Michelle did a sneak and by God if she didn’t have her a Super Tom and it was a very happy moment.

Michelle Chiaro’s first turkey was a dandy!

She decided to do a full flying mount on her weighed 25-pound gobbler with 1.5 inch spurs and a beard just under 11-inches.

Selina and I hunted hard after that and twice she passed on a jake that was with a small tom, there was almost zero gobbling and it was time well spent with a girl who I seldom see as she is majoring in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences at UWSP has a job and a social life.

A fine reminder that some of her love for turkey hunting is by helping others is that she took her boyfriend hunting who had never shot a turkey, called one in for him and he got it.

The new neighbors daughter will be hunting out of my blind this weekend on the plot and it will be her first turkey hunt and I am confident that she will have action.

You look back at this story and it’s all about going for it and having a good time.

That my friends is what life is all about!


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