A Hunt of a Lifetime

Submitted By Heath Wood Feb .22.2016

I have been fortunate enough to be able to partake in a Youth Disabled Hunt in Rogersville, MO. This is with a (National Wild Turkey Federation) NWTF chapter named the Rogersville Strutters. Every year during Missouri's Youth Turkey Season the Rogersville Strutters takes 2 or 3 kids with disabilities on a turkey hunt.

As seen on Cuttin' and Struttin' Vol 18 and 19 I took a young man with Autism named Owen Baird. Last year Owen got his first gobbler and what a hunt it was! This year I took on a unique challenge. Several months ago Cody Wilson from the Rogersville Strutters asked me if I would come back to Rogersville and take a young man named Nathan Deeds, who is blind. I immediately said yes.

On April 11, 2015 I found myself in a blind with young Nathan waiting on a big gobbler to come to the call. We waited until 10:30 a.m. that morning, only hearing a few gobblers in the distance. We had one hen come in and check out the Snoods decoys, however, that was about it for the action. After lunch we returned around 2 p.m. on a different farm. Again, the action was slow. We had one gobbler come in to about 150 yards then feed off with no interest in us at all.

We returned Sunday morning with a determination to get this boy his first turkey. As the sun came up we were ready to hear the woods light up with the sounds of gobbling turkeys. But again, there was only silence. We still tried to stay positive. Around 7:00 a.m. 2 or 3 hens went through at 200 yards away from our blind. Just when I was thinking this could be another slow day, I looked out of our blind window and saw three turkeys moving across the field in the same spot that the hens had went through a few minutes earlier.

I called on a Split V III diaphragm call. They stuck their heads up to see where the sound was coming from. They walked 10 or 12 yards in our direction, then I cut 2 or 3 times followed by a series of yelps. They stopped again, but this time they made eye contact with Jake, Suzie, and Penny Snood. All three came running from 150 yards out, directly to the decoys. They poked around on Jake for a couple of minutes before they finally spread apart enough for Nathan to take the shot and what a shot it was. Nathan connected on his first turkey! He was so excited and happy, as well as us too.

This was truly one of the best hunts I have ever been on. This is why the Rogersville Strutters put so much time and effort into taking these kids with disabilities. Their slogan is "Turning I Can't, Into I Can." Nathan is proof with a little help from others, anything is possible. Go Like the Rogersville Strutters on Facebook and see what all this chapter does for these kids. I'm truly blessed to have a part in this amazing group of people. This hunt was also filmed for Hunter's Specialties this year as well. You all are going to love it!