Gus Kalady watched a bid for a youth hunt turn into memory gold Sunday morning.
Kalady bid on the hunt at the Rockford Regional National Wild Turkey Federation dinner and won. Over the weekend, he was able to take his son on the youth hunt in Illinois’ north zone, guided by Dave Kincaid in Winnebago County.
It turned into a picture moment as much as a memory moment, as the Schaumburg father and son show in the photo above.
The first regular spring turkey hunting season in Illinois’ south zone opened Monday; the first in the north, next Monday, April 13.
Expectations for spring turkey hunters are for similar success to recent years, according to forest wildlife program manager Paul Shelton.
“Most of the north zone is relatively stable,” he emailed. “West-central Illinois counties in a band from about Hancock County south to Jersey County have experienced declines during the past several years.”
Expectations were equally high for Kalady and his 15-year-old son John, who was hunting the last youth season he could, as they set out Saturday morning to a spot Kincaid described as “a honey hole.”
“Our hearts were pounding with anticipation,” Kalady emailed.
As well it should have been with multiple turkeys gobbling. But they went turkeyless in the cold of Day 1. Day 2, Sunday, was a different matter. So much so that Kalady awoke at 2:30 a.m. with expectations.
Kincaid (right) had them positioned near a big gobbler, but it made them and flew off. But they repositioned between a hen and the big gobbler.
Kalady had this perspective, “I could hear the gobblers off in the distance getting closer and closer responding to both Dave and the real bird’s calls. A crow landed in a tree up above the hunters and added to the excitement as every time the crow cawed the turkeys gobbled even louder and closer.
“My son later could not believe how the turkeys pinpointed their location from far away. The toms, now three, were within fifty yards searching for the hen. Dave’s experience helped ease my son’s excitement by having him positioned and waiting till in range.”
At 20 yards, the biggest tom went into full strut and dance. John Kalady waited until the two smaller tom cleared, then made a clean shot with his 20-gauge Browning A-5 around 8:30 a.m. on the big tom.
“A huge `Yahoo’ echoed through the woods and I knew they were successful,” Kalady emailed.
More “Yahoos” will come in the coming weeks and more picture moments.
As they do, I will run Turkey of the Week, as warranted. Reach me at @BowmanOutside (Twitter), Dale Bowman (Facebook) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
COHO DERBY: In a classic lakefront setting, there was some classic spring fishing Saturday morning in Henry’s 11th annual Coho Derby at Navy Pier with 23 coho caught.
Greg Cargile caught the big coho (1 pound, 15 ounces) and won the powerline division (four fish, 6-8). Carl Lien won the rod and reel division (four, 5-6).
STRAY CAST: Jeff Samardzija’s retaliations remind me of finding out an admired dry-fly fisherman tips his Royal Coachmans with maggots. The Cubs opener was like foul-hooking a bighead carp.