Laurel League went on her first turkey hunt on April 2 with her dad and granddad, and shot a prize gobbler that put her in awe. League, a 7-year-old from Summerfield in Rockingham Couny, is a veteran hunter, and has killed a few deer including a 120-class buck she bagged last fall, but her dad said he’s never seen her as excited as she was on this hunt.
Eric League, Laurel’s dad, had been watching some turkeys leading up to the opening of Youth Week, and knew where a few turkeys were roosting. He also knew their travel routes, and decided to set up in a spot that he knew these birds were frequenting.
“It was Laurel, my dad, and me, and we carried in a double blind, three chairs, a Caldwell Dead Shot gun rest for Laurel, some decoys, and her shotgun. We set up on a spot that I knew they would pass through, and we put the decoys out. We could hear two or three gobbling while still on the roost, so we felt pretty good about the hunt,” he said.
League made a couple of calls with his Hank’s Game Call, the gobblers answered after flying down, but then they held up. League called excitedly then, and the turkeys moved nearer. His daughter got in his lap as the turkeys ran closer, gobbling the whole way. This really got Laurel excited, said her dad.
“With all the deer she’s killed, she’s never gotten buck fever or anything like that. She’s always been pretty calm about those, but this was different for her. She loved hearing the turkeys gobbling,” he said.
At one point during the hunt, Laurel asked her dad if it was the turkeys making “that noise,” He told her it was, to which she answered “they’re loud!”
Once they saw the turkeys, the three generations of hunters realized it was two longbeards and a jake.
“With it being her first turkey hunt, we honestly didn’t care which one she shot. I clicked the safety off when they were at about 40 yards, then the jake stopped and the two longbeards kept coming. I told her once they got to the decoys, she could shoot whichever one she wanted,” said League.
With the turkeys about 11 yards away, Laurel took her time, aimed, and pulled the trigger. Her gobbler hit the dirt.
“Laurel said she wanted to see her turkey up close. We all did, and her granddad was so excited, he didn’t even unzip the door to the blind. He just grabbed the bottom of it and flipped it over, and we went to the turkey. Laurel couldn’t stop commenting on how vibrant and colorful the bird was,” said League.
The gobbler weighed 21 pounds, sported a 10-inch beard, and had 1 1/4-inch spurs.