Story by: Beau Ohm
Photos by: Keaton Rowe
Over the years I have been fortunate to hunt turkeys in several different states.
The landscape and conditions vary wildly, but the rush of hearing a tom gobble is universally exhilarating. Even though I have had the privilege to hunt with people of many different backgrounds and hunting experiences, there is a hunt every year I look forward to more than any other: taking my dad into the turkey woods.
My dad isn’t a woodsman. He isn’t even a hunter. I could describe him most accurately as a family man. He doesn’t golf, he doesn’t have beer drinking buddies, he doesn’t ride a motorcycle and he doesn’t have a safe full of guns. Not that there is anything wrong with any of those things, but he is most fulfilled when he is spending time with his family. Within our family, we sometimes joke that he should get a hobby. For many years, I hoped the hobby would become hunting, but to this day it still remains family.
Still, every year Dad and I carve out a morning in April to venture into the turkey woods and share a hunt for a spring gobbler. My dad is a very capable man, but after several knee surgeries and recently separating his quad from his patella, rugged terrain and heavy packs are not an option. I spend the better portion of a week prior to season scouting birds and planning how we can walk in and get set up as efficiently as possible.
All of the scouting and preparation in the world can only go so far. At some point, you have to actually get out and execute the plan. I am always anxiously awaiting the hunt with my dad, hoping the birds I roosted the night before want to play the game and the walk in isn’t too hard on Dad’s knees. Every time we go out, I hope the hunt unfolds as I see it in my head, but it rarely does.
Even though our hunts often stray from the plan, my dad has filled his tag each of the last five years. It seems as though my old man has been blessed by the hunting Gods.
It’s strange, but during the spring hunt I have noticed a dynamic shift in my relationship with dad. Most of my life, he is the one offering knowledge and wisdom, but in the turkey woods, I become the mentor. For a short time each spring, we are equals. I know he appreciates hunting with me and doesn’t care if we are successful or not. I know each moment in the turkey woods is time well spent for both of us.