Turkey Number One didn’t cooperate, but a second chance tom was just fine for Caelan Johnston.
The 12 year old Cedar Rapids boy bagged a 20 pound gobbler during Iowa’s Youth Turkey Season. Set up before dawn in a Benton County blind with his dad, Dan Johnston, they heard one gobble right off the bat. With the nearest roosting trees about a quarter mile away, though, it was quiet for a couple hours.
Eventually 15 or 20 deer moved toward them. A little later, two turkey hens showed up in the field behind the blind…with a tom following.
“We tried an alarm ‘put’ to get the turkey to stop and hopefully raise his head for a look around. Instead, he ran off,” explains Dan. With such a tough target, Caelan’s shot missed.
Thirty minutes later, their luck changed.
Dan told Caelan they’d try one more call before wrapping up for the morning. In the distance, a gobble returned.
“I saw a black object, walked right into our clearing,” recalls Caelan. “Dad called again; it walked to the right and I shot.”
That 25-yard shot dropped the bird. Looking over the 9¼ inch beard and 1 1/8 inch spurs…Caelan had his first trophy tom.
“This was my first year actually shooting. I’ve gone out with my Dad before, when he hunted. We went out the day before, to shoot a couple rounds and get used to the shotgun kick. That helped a lot,” he agreed.
He was one of about 4,000 young hunters, expected to hunt during the early youth season. Youth hunters who did not fill their tags are permitted to hunt—with their adult mentor still alongside—during the regular seasons, which continue through May 18.