Tom Foolery: Tales of turkey hunting

  • Updated: April 30, 2014 - 1:28 AM

DOUBLE TROUBLE Bryce (left) and Cole Helget, 10-year-old twins from Oak Grove, bagged their first gobblers ever on opening weekend of Minnesota's spring turkey hunt. They were hunting in Otter Tail County while visiting their grandparents. "The boys were thrilled and they are turkey hunters for life, they are hooked, just like their dad,'' said mom Stacy Helget. Their dad, Darrin Helget, helped both boys call in their birds.

Minnesota’s spring turkey season is just two weeks old, and it’s already been a memorable one for many hunters. We asked readers to share their turkey tales, and here are a few compiled by Outdoors writer Doug Smith.

Bryce and Cole Helget, 10, Oak Grove

The 10-year-old twins bagged their first gobblers ever on opening weekend of Minnesota’s spring turkey hunt. They were hunting in Otter Tail County while visiting their grandparents. “The boys were thrilled, and they are turkey hunters for life, they are hooked, just like their dad,’’ said mom Stacy Helget. “Their dad, Darrin Helget, helped the boys call in their birds.”

Harold Buckentin, 90, Stillwater

(As told by son, Don)

“Dad’s 90 years old and still takin’ care of business.

On opening morning, we saw a pile of birds, including four jakes [young males] right in our lap, and he chose to pass and wait for a tom. Later he missed a nice tom that would come no closer than 40 yards. Still, we saw 25-plus birds in the field — half were mature toms — strutters all over the place!

On Day Two, we saw 17 or 18 birds during the few hours we were there. None close.

On Day Three, we got all set up and my gut told me we needed to move closer to where they had been coming out into the field. Ten minutes later we were set up on a grassy fence line. Two hens came first, then a few more, then the big guy came out and headed straight for my jake decoy. Dad dropped him at about 20 yards — his third Minnesota turkey in three years.

I feel so fortunate to still be able to hunt with my Dad. As long as he wants to keep going, I’m going to do all I can to help. Congrats Pop!”

Tilly Nugent, 11, Minnetonka

(As told by dad, Steve)

“Tilly has been going turkey hunting with me since she was 7. She would pack a backpack with treats and stuff to play with. She wouldn’t shoot, but she would just come along to experience the hunt, and I wanted to start a hunting tradition with my kids. This year, she hunted for the first time, bagging birds in Wisconsin and Minnesota. The bird in the photo was taken near Belle Plaine. We were skunked the first morning. The second morning there were gobbles everywhere and then they all shut off at 6:30. It was quiet until 7 a.m. when the tom gobbled once and came over the crest of the hill with a couple jakes and some hens. He put on a great show and took his time getting to shooting range. Being in a blind, I whispered in Tilly’s ear to let her know when to move her gun and when the tom was in range to shoot. She did a great job. This year instead of carrying her goody bag of treats, she got to carry out two nice toms. Lucky kid!”

Sophie Linder, 14, Harris

(As told by her dad, Eric)

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  • Tilly Nugent, 11, Minnetonka, with a gobbler she bagged in Minnesota this spring.

  • Sophie Linder, 14, of Harris, Minn., with a gobbler she shot this spring.

  • Harold Buckentin, 90, of Stillwater, bagged a 24-pound gobbler, with a 9.5-inch beard, earlier this month while hunting with his son, Don. It has Buckentin's third turkey in three years.

  • Kelton Vavrosky, 15, of Eagan with his 26-pound gobber. The bird had an 11-inch beard.

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