Just a glimpse of daylight began to break through the dark as Al and I started out into the field in search of the big tom that had eluded us the day before.
It was Sunday, March 24, 2013, about 6:40 a.m., the second day of the youth turkey season. About 25 steps in I heard the first "gobble" of the day. For that matter, it was the first "gobble" of the hunt, here at Canada de Los Osos. About 2 weeks before, I received the surprising call to inform me that I was just one of 5 youth hunters drawn for this special spring turkey hunt.
My father and I met the other hunters and a couple of the volunteer guides in Gilroy on Saturday morning, then caravanned the 20 or so miles up to Canada de los Osos. We enjoyed a great barbecue steak lunch, met the other guides, and had a short safety meeting before each hunter was paired with our own personal guide for the hunt.
MACREGREGOR DOUGLASS of Lafayette and volunteer guide Al Nelson with the nice gobbler he shot at Los Osos.
There was a group of almost 10 men that had volunteered to share their experience, time and hunting expertise with a group of kids they didn't even know! I was paired with Al Nelson. We got set up quickly for the afternoon, and headed to our popup blind. Apparently, no one had shared the plan with the turkeys of Canada de Los Osos, on the afternoon plans. We agreed to connect again Sunday morning at 6 a.m.
After some orange juice and donuts, Al and I were off to the meadows and riverbed again to see if we could catch the gobblers coming off the roost.
By 7:30 we had heard "gobbles" from three different directions. Al and I got set, made a few calls with the box call donated by NWTF then waited, quiet and still. At 8:00 it all came together. A big tom came over the ridge. He came in to about 20 yards before I dropped him. I think Al was just as happy and relieved as I was. We returned to the truck to show my dad. We walked up to find him smiling and happy.
After some pictures, Al wanted to be sure I knew how to clean my bird. I hadn't plucked a turkey before. My dad and I usually just skin them. That's another new skill I learned. Thanks, Mr. Al Nelson for giving up your weekend, teaching me how to pluck a turkey, and most of all, sharing the stories about your son. Hopefully, some day I can meet him.
Canada de lo Osos was a special place for me before this hunt. With this turkey, it only strengthened the way I feel about it. Next, I will put in for the spring pig hunt, then the youth deer hunt in fall. Hopefully, in a few years, Mr. Henry Coletto, President of Friends of Canada de Los Osos, will allow me to guide youth hunters and share with them some of the blessings of the great outdoors.
Macgregor Douglass is 13 years old and in 7th grade in Lafayette.