A First Turkey and Family Tradition

Thanks in advance to our good friend Brandon Wilmoth for this guest blog post about his son Platt's first turkey. 

Platt is all smiles in the outdoors. Platt is all smiles in the outdoors.

My five-year-old-son, Platt, and I have developed our father/son bond in many ways, but I most cherish the moments we’ve spent hunting. The sport has long been my passion, and I've carefully introduced him, taking the process slowly from his earliest days in the blind to ensure his safety and understanding.

On many occasions, he’s accompanied his grandfather and me on hunting adventures. It was when he was three that he watched me take an Eastern turkey on a family farm in eastern Kansas. He was ecstatic and I loved his enthusiasm in that moment. From then on, he’s enjoyed pheasant, quail, deer and turkey hunts at my side. Our goal on these hunts isn’t to always conquer, but to create a memory and learn important lessons about the outdoors.

Before each adventure, I develop a plan. Platt’s first hunt behind the trigger was no different, I tried to prepare for every scenario.

IMG_7455 Platt's lead sled shooting rest is ready to go!

 

 

 

To foster his confidence, we slowly introduced him to firearm practice. First, he worked with his toy guns, then the family .22, a gun that had been my great grandfather’s and made Platt the fifth generation shooter. The first time Platt fired it, he proclaimed it “the most awesome thing ever.” He was then ready for the gun he’d use to take his first turkey. We selected a 20-gauge shotgun my uncle had in his safe. It was a little beat up and needed some TLC, but I cut it down and added rubber padding to make it ready for use.

Brandon and Platt taking a break from the action for a quick selfie. Brandon and Platt taking a break from the action for a quick selfie.

Platt practiced for days with his customized gun at my shooting bench and using a lead sled. When it was time to go to the field, I took the bench and lead sled to the blind to mimic the environment he was familiar. We arrived at the same farm where Platt had watched me knock down my turkey just a few years earlier.

Two toms were already out when we arrived at the farm. We eased into the blind so as not to run them off. Once settled, it didn’t take long for the action to pick up. There was a hen only thirty yards away. I excitedly told Platt there was a hen close by sporting a six-inch beard. In Kansas, it’s legal to shoot anything with a beard, so we decided to give it a try.

IMG_7601 The Wilmoth turkey camp.

Unfortunately, we were set up facing the other direction, but we quickly switched around the layout to get Platt set up. As he eased into the shot, the bearded hen kept moving and unfortunately, moved out of range. Luckily, the two toms we’d spotted earlier arrived back on the scene. We prepared for the shot.

With the gun lined up and Platt sitting on my lap, I told him to shoot. He leaned in tight and expertly looked down the barrel. Again, I whispered, “shoot,” but the tom he was aiming for suddenly took a step to the right. My mind was racing, Oh no! His shot's not lined up and he's going to miss!

But I was wrong. Platt moved the gun to follow the tom and then, “Boom!” The old tom dropped like a bag of bricks!

“Daddy, I did it. Daddy, I did it!” Platt exalted.

I was overcome with pride and emotion.

IMG_7457 Platt and his first turkey- a big old double beard tom!

We hurried over to check out the tom, thrilled to discover he was double bearded, making the quest even more significant. Now the bird is being prepared in a full body mount to forever preserve Platt’s first conquest. It’s a memory forever ingrained in my heart and a story I look forward to sharing over and over as our love of the outdoors continues to grow.

WOW! On behalf of everyone here at ScentBlocker, congratulations fellas. That is a hunt that none of the Wilmoth men will soon forget. And Platt... you may not know how to e-mail just yet, so make sure dad sends us picture of the giant buck you kill this fall too:)

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