A Gobbler for Tristan
April 10, 2018
Editorial Staff (212 articles)
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A Gobbler for Tristan

A grandfather helps his grandson get his first turkey

By Jim “Pops” Carter

My grandson Tristan loves the outdoors. He has gone on various hunting trips with me since he was about 5 years old. We have been on dove hunts, turkey hunts, and shed antler hunts together in various counties in Texas and in the woods near our home in San Antonio. He always finds something interesting in the woods that he normally picks up for his “newest” collection.

Feathers, rocks, sticks, skulls, antlers and other assorted items often get put in my truck for the ride home. Tristan has gone turkey hunting with me the last three springs, and during those hunting trips I took a gobbler each time, with my little hunting buddy by my side. I have been blessed to have some very special friends—Raul and Leroy Franco—who own property in Karnes County. Their property always has some turkeys either on it, or passing through it.

Tristan came home from school one day this past fall and told me one of the girls in his third grade class had shot her first deer. He then informed me he wanted to shoot a wild turkey when the spring season rolled around. Even though Tristan has gone turkey hunting with me the last three springs, he has always been an observer and not a shooter. Every time we have gone hunting, Tristan has practiced shooting tin cans with my pellet gun and then my .22 rifle.

Turkey season arrives

When the 2017 spring turkey season arrived, he was ready to try shooting his first turkey. This special spring day started out just like our previous spring turkey hunts. We’d get up early and get in the pop-up blind just before daylight. Tristan had not given up on shooting his first turkey, even though he was getting tired of sitting still for those long hours.

It’s not easy for an 8-year-old to be patient, but he hung in there like a champ and never gave up. We settled into the blind and waited for daylight to come. Tristan watched out the front window of the blind and I had unzipped the door to the blind about 5 inches, so I could see through the narrow opening. As the sun rose, I noticed a deer come out of the brush about 200 yards away and I could tell that it was a buck.

The buck’s antlers had already grown about 4 inches, and as I watched him, two more bucks emerged from the brush. I told Tristan there were three bucks at the end of the field. They had come out, and they, too, were starting to grow their new sets of antlers.

I unzipped the door some more and he got my binocular and began watching the deer. The deer ate at the edge of the field for about 20 minutes and then wandered off into the heavy brush. Tristan went back to looking out the front window and I went back to looking out the narrow opening in the unzipped door of the blind. It was getting close to 8 a.m.

Anticipation builds

After 10 minutes, I saw something large and dark flying through the air. It landed at the end of the field. I thought that it was a buzzard or an owl. I had seen some shortly after daybreak at that end of the same field.

But when it landed and ran a couple of steps, I saw it was a turkey. I grabbed the binocular and looked out the narrow opening to the door and confirmed it was a gobbler. Not only was it a gobbler, but a long beard one at that. I told Tristan I was looking at a gobbler and he asked if it was coming our way. I told him it was just standing there looking around.

I yelped several times at the bird. I could tell he was stretching his neck and listening. I yelped again. The gobbler started slowly walking our way, but on the side of the blind with the door and no window.

I told Tristan to stand up. We turned the chair and the gun rest around, so he could face the direction the gobbler was coming from. I unzipped the door wider so Tristan could get a shot, but the gobbler was running towards us.

The gobbler almost ran past the blind, but he stopped and Tristan shot. I saw the bird stumble and then run into some heavy brush along the fence line. I told Tristan to stay in the blind while I walked over to the fence line to locate the bird. As I got to the edge of brush line, I turned around and found that I had a very excited 8-year-old on my heels.

Success

We found the gobbler piled up under a low hanging tree limb. Tristan told me he would take care of carrying his turkey, but after trying to carry it and then dragging it for about 10 yards, he decided it would be OK if I handled the carrying duties. Tristan had finally taken his first game bird and the celebration began.

Tristan showed off his bird to all the Franco family members. He told everyone his hunting story and then we started taking photos of him with his first gobbler.

It was a great day to be in the woods and see the excitement on a little boys face. The 1½-hour drive back to San Antonio seemed to go a lot faster than it normally does, but that may have been because Tristan talked about his turkey all the way home.

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