"I always thought it was hard killing a turkey," said Angus. "But then there
it was, and it was all over."
That was Sunday morning. We had gone back to the place he had shot his first
turkey last evening. He had a squirrel already in his bag, and the sun was
barely up. He was on a roll.
Angus, Moose, and I had come down to enjoy the two-week bye between Kentucky
deer seasons. Angus, 10, had taken his first deer during the Kentucky Yute
season. Moose, 16, had gone out alone for his first deer hunt the next weekend,
Early Muzzleloader Season. We were now in the lull. Deer goes out, Fall Turkey
Hunting, the early Shotgun Season, comes in.
Moose and Angus were rigged for a combination squirrel/turkey hunt. Moose had
his Mossberg 500 with a turkey choke. Angus carried his bolt-action New Haven
485B in 20 GA, with a Full Choke. Both had low-brass #6 and a few high-brass #4's if a turkey
presented itself. Angus still required to have an adult with him. One gun was
enough, so I left mine back at the house.
Saturday morning, Moose found a roost on top of a finger-ridge, scattered the
flock, and then spent a good long while calling them back in with a Dixie Darlin'
box call he had borrowed from me. To his dismay, the flock re-assembled just on
the on the other side of a small rise and took off to feed-- Moose in hot
pursuit. He was not able to get a shot; however, chasing the turkeys, Moose was
able to harvest 3 squirrels before he came in.
Saturday afternoon, Angus and I went went out to one of our favorite haunts
behind a 150 year-old barn. Angus was primarily interested in squirrel. We set
up amid some logs on the edge of the woods in the lee of a group of ancient
white oak and pin oak. Along about sunset, a flock of turkeys came to feed at
one of the white oaks that had its branches sprawling out into the field. I
spotted them and whispered to Angus.
Angus and I were both armed with Heirloom calls. I had a Double-Barrel, glass
and slate;. Angus likes the glass Single Barrel that Brian sent him with the
turquoise inlays. We made some feeding calls and a cluck here and there-- more
than anything to cover the noise of Angus reloading his shotgun than anything
else. I crunched a few leaves as well. The flock was milling about in the field,
weaving around under the low branches that kept the deer away from the choicest
acorns. A few individuals were crossing the fence and heading down towards our
A smart old hen made us, just as Angus jacked the high-brass #4 into battery.
She had climbed up on a tuft of dirt to get a better view and caught him cycling
the bolt. Another hen close by got the idea too, and with a few clucks, they
transmitted to the rest of their buddies that it was time to move on.
"If you're going to shoot, I suggest you do it now." I whispered.
"I don't have a shot." My son replied. My vantage was only a couple feet higher
than that of Angus. However, I had been able to see everything, and he had been
blind to the whole scene.
"Stand up and run towards them." I said. The branches were too tangled for them
to fly right away. There would be enough confusion in that corner of the field
as they tried to figure out which way to go that there would be an opportunity.
That is exactly how it played out. Angus stood up and took two steps foward. A
jake's head shot up, and Angus took the shot from about 10 yards out.
We all went back to the same spots on Sunday. I was now the guy in the dark, for
as I sat there in the gloom, I heard Angus' safety come off from the other side
of the tree.
"Fire in the hole!" he whispered. His shotgun went off, and the next thing I
heard was the distant plop of a body on leaves. By the time I got around the big
oak, Angus was already up, and jacking another round into his shotgun for the
stalk to a grey squirrel that had fallen at the edge of the old Mossberg's
John bagged another four squirrels as well as having an encounter with a flock
of 15 turkeys down in Soggy Bottom. They had stayed just out of gun range. With
a total of 8 squirrels in two days, he is now the reigning King of the Tree
Rats, and is giving pointers to both myself and his younger brother.
"Does Heirloom make squirrel calls?" Angus asked.