Saturday night found us up late visiting with Ben and his
brother, Zack, while engaged in a ping pong tournament and a late night foosball
After a final put-away shot, Casey finally admitted
With that, we decided it best to get a few hours of sleep before
the morning's hunt! It took a bit more than normal to roust everybody from
their slumber this morning, but finally, after a breakfast of Swiss Cake Rolls,
we were headed in our different directions to our respective blinds.
Ben and I rode back out to the northeast setup from which we had
narrowly missed a great opportunity to get Ben's first bow bird. We parked
the four wheeler at the top of the hill, making sure to park far enough away so
as not to disturb any birds that may be in the area. About half way to the
blind, we spotted a couple of pickup trucks at the turnoff to our setup.
Ben hesitated, and then said that the trucks belonged to his Uncle, Ed, and
another family friend, Kevin.
I asked Ben if we should proceed, cautious to do so myself so as
not to be mistaken for a turkey by one of the shotgunners, but Ben was confident
they wouldn't shoot us, so we made our way to our ICE Blind, arriving there
without seeing sign of other hunters. The wind had kicked up overnight,
and was sure to give us fits this morning. The blind had survived, but it
would make it difficult to call any birds, provided they hadn't been blown off
the roost themselves!
We heard occasional calling, presumably from Ben's uncle, a
couple hundred yards or less to the East. We made a few calls of our own,
hoping to possibly attract a bird that happened to venture within close enough
proximity to hear the yelps through the wind.
It was looking pretty bleak, as the wind violently whipped
through the trees, grass and our blind. Ben was about ready to doze off in
the blind at 7:30 when I spotted movement about 80 yards to our right. It
wasn't gobblers, but a couple of bearded "turkeys" were walking right
toward us. They stopped suddenly as they apparently spotted the blind, and
stared intently at it trying to figure out what it was. One of them
noticed our decoy setup, and motioned to the other, with his shotgun, that there
may be something out of place!
It was Ben's uncle and Kevin! We exited the blind and
walked over to visit with them. I introduced myself and we talked about
what we had seen, or actually not seen, this morning. They had been
blanked as well, and were moving their setup. Ben's uncle gave him a
little playful grief about hunting turkeys with a bow, and stated as he walked
away "you need to put down that bow and start hunting with a
gun!" We laughed and I told them "There's no way we (Ben's
support group here on TexasBowhunter.com) are gonna let that happen!"
Ben and I decided that with four hunters, including us,
concentrated in this area, things were probably too boogered up to have any
chance of seeing anything. We packed up our gear and made our way back to
I spent some time, while waiting on Keith, Casey and Chuck to
return, visiting with Mr. Stovall about this fantastic piece of property.
I was impressed with his attitude and philosophy on how the property should be
managed, as well as his complete support for Ben's love for hunting. He
recognized that Ben's dedication to not only the deer or to hunting, but to
taking care of the property and learning to manage the land.
Mr. and Mrs. Stovall are among the nicest, most sincere people I
have ever met, and the attention and support they give to all their kids,
Ben, Zack and Jessica, is evidenced by the quality of their children.
After the other hunters returned, each without seeing anything
but trees blowing in the wind, we spent the entire rest of the morning on a
grand four wheeler tour of the property, giving Ben some ideas and suggestions
on possible stand locations for next deer season.
Oh yeah, we spent a little time playing around like fourteen
year olds, and thirty-something year olds are wont to do!
Reluctantly, we returned to the Stovall house to begin packing
for our return trip home. We made sure to get a group photo before saying
goodbye and heading our separate ways.
From left to right are Casey, Michael, Ben, Keith and Chuck.
I can't begin to describe how incredibly impressed I am with
fourteen year old Ben. His hunting skills, and his maturity, are well
beyond that of most fourteen year olds, though his dad was quick to point out
that when Ben gets around his school friends, he is reminded that he is, in
fact, a fourteen year old! Ben's hunting knowledge is impressive.
Even more impressive his that he soaks up any information he can like a sponge,
which might explain how he can become an accomplished bowhunter even without the
presence of other bowhunters in his family. He has a thirst for knowledge,
which his parents recognize and support. It was a refreshing experience
having the opportunity to sit with Ben the entire weekend and witness his
youthful, infectious enthusiasm. I look forward to the opportunity to hunt
with Ben again.