Photo courtesy James Wells
Kenny and his dad show off the spoils of an unforgettable day
The day I have waited for
After an eventful but unproductive morning turkey hunt, I headed back to the cabin where my 8-year-old son, Kenny, was waiting for me. I walked in with doughnuts, and he ran over to hug me and said, “Thanks, Daddy!”
Soon it was time to head back to the woods, this time with my son in tow. I grabbed the shotgun and my little guy carefully surveyed the back of the Chevy Tahoe trying to decide if he wanted his bow or Red Ryder BB gun.
I would be happy if he could see a turkey.
We share a quick prayer and walk less than a 100 yards and yelp with the box call. We heard a tom about 200 yards away, so we hid behind a pile of stacked firewood. Kenny kept peeking over the top of the pile, hoping to catch a glimpse of the bird.
“My leg is killing me, Dad!”
“Are these red ants?”
“Are you sure we are not sitting in poison oak?”
The gobbling stopped and we spent the next 30 minutes looking at an owl’s nest, catching field frogs and walking the perimeter of the property. We sat on top of a hill and share a canteen of water. After I told him the frogs were not going in my canteen, Kenny settled for a plastic water bottle as a hospitable environment for his new pets.
Kenny was playing with a turkey call as we walked back to the truck. A gobble rang out and I dropped to one knee and grabbed Kenny’s collar. The bird gobbled again, and I saw tail feathers peaking over the edge of a 5-foot boulder 20 yards in front of us. I stepped in front of Kenny and shouldered my shotgun as the tom strutted to the right of the boulder. Soon after I pulled the trigger, Kenny pushed me aside, trying to get an arrow in the dead bird.
“You guys weren’t gone for long,” Mom said when we arrived.
I showed her my crimson hands and Kenny pulled out a tail feather and tapped the side of his head with it.
After posing for photos for our hunting album, I realized I had longed for this day my whole life. — James Wells, El Cajon, Calif.