Dusty McGehee: The perfect morning

 

Saturday, March 26th was the day I was supposed to be fishing for the national championship on Lake D’arbonne.  As you already know, turkey hunting is my priority, so I made sure I didn’t make the top 25 so I didn’t have to fish Championship Saturday.  This was the “lose/win” situation that I had planned on executing all along.

My dad obviously had much more confidence in my fishing abilities than I did, so he was on hot standby to take Anders on the opener of youth turkey season here.  What transpired was probably better than anything I could have ever planned.

Thankfully, I have awesome family members that allow me to hunt their property that has a healthy turkey population in north Lincoln Parish.  Not only does he let me access the property, but he also monitors the property with multiple cellular trail cams and helped to form the game plan for opening morning.

He had been getting photos of a large gobbler frequenting a clover food plot and we had him patterned and this bird had Anders’ name written all over him.  I hadn’t set foot on the property this year, but with all of this intel there was no need to go in there and risk messing anything up.  After I “lost” a top 25 spot in the fishing tournament, I eagerly came home and told Anders we had a really good shot at getting a bird in the morning.  He was almost as excited as I was.  The weatherman was calling for clear skies, cool temps, and light wind…the perfect gobbling weather.

I set my alarm for 530 AM but didn’t need it.  I was too excited to sleep.  Anders and myself headed north to Dubach to the family property to meet my dad.  The plan was for dad to listen at the pipeline, and we would head towards the food plot.  As the woods began to wake, I heard him gobble but he was a LONG way away.  I called dad and even with his poor hearing, he confirmed the location of the turkey.  We sneak into the food plot and to my surprise he is still 300-400 yards away on the roost.

I contemplate going into the hardwoods after him as my adrenaline was pumping and I typically like to get within 150 yards of a roosted bird.  However, the one tiny patient bone in my body, plus the camera intel told me to hang back in the clover plot.  So, we back into the plantation pines and I clear a lane to the corner of the food plot where I expect he might appear.

The bird gobbles 30+ times on the roost and I let out some soft calls.  He doesn’t answer me, but some hens about 100 yards from me decide they want to have a conversation.  I mimic every call they make, but he only gobbles at the real thing.  Around 7 AM, the hens fly down; they cackle and he cuts them off and I can tell he is on the ground.

We are sitting back patiently waiting and there is silence for 10 minutes.  I turn my head and make a loud yelp over my back and BOOM he gobbles 50 yards away.  I hear him drumming and tell Anders to get on the gun.  I ask Anders if he hears him drumming and he said “no”.  I explain the drumming sound and he says “oh yeah I heard tha…” and before he finishes the sentence, I see his fan coming out into the field.

He struts right out into the plot (the most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen), just like he read the script.  I tell Anders to keep the dot on his head, and he breaks strut and sticks his neck up.  I wasn’t sure if he caught our movement or was just checking the surroundings, but I wasn’t going to chance it.  I whisper, “bust him” and immediately the 20-gauge barks!  Simultaneously, the turkey hits the dirt.

We both jump up and Anders jumps on me, hugs me, yelling “YES, YES, YES!!!”  We run over to his trophy and admire it.  We call my dad (“Pop”) and tell him to drive into the food plot

Within minutes, there were three generations of McGehees celebrating as the sun rose on that beautiful clover field.  I could ramble on and on about how great of a day this was, but there aren’t enough words to describe it.  This was THE perfect morning.

Anders and I are blessed to be able to hunt here and we do not take it for granted.  I don’t like to play favorites, but he might have a new favorite cousin now.  Thank you for allowing us to enjoy your piece of paradise.  The memories that were made on your tract in Lincoln Parish will never be forgotten!

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Dusty McGehee is a native of Downsville and a 2006 graduate of Louisiana Tech University with a bachelors in wildlife conservation. He is currently employed by WestRock and serves as an environmental engineer at the Hodge Mill. Dusty is an avid hunter and crappie fisherman, fishing crappie tournaments with his son when he is not in the woods. He and his wife Rachel have three young outdoorsmen/women: Anders (9), Ridge (7) and Mae (5). If you have a story idea or question about the great outdoors, you can reach Dusty at dusty.mcgehee@westrock.com.

 


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