Spring break and youth turkey season in the same week, could it be?
You bet and the ideal scenario worked perfectly for Hayden Kyle, 9, a third grader at Pontotoc City School. One of thousands of kids out of school in Mississippi this week, Kyle learned an important lesson in the woods.
Hunting with his dad Jay Kyle near Pontotoc on Tuesday, the youngster killed his first big bird, a 2-year-old, 19-pound gobbler with a thick 9-inch beard.
It actually came on the second day of hunting, and ended a lesson on the patience it takes to be a successful turkey hunter.
“Dad called one up for me on Monday,” the youngster said. “All I could think about was that I was going to shoot that gobbler, but Dad kept telling me to wait when I was telling him I had a shot.”
Jay Kyle didn’t see it that way.
“He didn’t have a good clear shot, so I told him he had to wait,” the elder Kyle said.
And, as often happens, the gobbler got a little bored with the action, if not a little scared, and walked off.
“I was mad at Dad,” Hayden Kyle said.
“I told him it was all part of the game, that it does not always go in your favor and that’s why it’s called hunting,” the dad said. “I told him to stick with it.”
Consoling words that, on a fresh young excited mind, had little affect.
“I was still upset,” the child said.
That changed on Day 2, on Tuesday, when father and son were back in the woods in pursuit.
According to the script, nothing much happened on the roost.
“I told him we’d sit and be patient and see what happens,” Jay Kyle said.
A lot did, and it didn’t take long.
According to the youngster, two birds suddenly appeared, sneaking in in the absence of a mature dominant bird.
“Two gobblers slipped into our decoys out of nowhere,” he said. “I was nervous but I got a shot off.”
One of the birds was suddenly on the ground flopping around amid the decoys. Hayden Kyle had his first bird.
“I was speechless and couldn’t breathe,” he said, adding his Dad was just as excited.
The Kyles gathered up the bird, took pictures and walked back to the car carrying a memory they will cherish for a long, long time. For the youngster came another lesson that he can take into the future and possibly pay it forward — a dad who dedicates the time to pass on his passion to the next generation.
Mississippi’s youth-only turkey season continues through Friday (March 14). They can continue hunting when the regular spring season opens Saturday (March 15) for all hunters. It ends on May 1.