Written by Conor Harrison, Lone Star Outdoor News
Every once in a while, a hunter will have a day to remember forever.
That might be the case for 11-year-old Port O’ Connor hunter Joey Helms who, along with his dad, Jeremy, headed to Live Oak County for the youth opener of the South Zone turkey season on March 14.
“It was just one of those lucky hunts,” Jeremy Helms said. “It happened pretty fast.”
The group set up where guides had been seeing birds in the days before, and it wasn’t long before the hunters knew they were in a good spot.
“There was a big group of birds in front of us and one gobbling behind us,” Jeremy said. “They got quiet for a while and the guide told us they were on the ground. They were making enough noise that we knew where they were. There was a little hill in front of us and it wasn’t long before we saw them coming.”
The hens were the first to notice the decoys — a jake and hen together.
“The hens did not like that decoy,” he said. “They started pecking at her and it wasn’t long before the toms came in strutting.”
Although there were five toms in the group, all of them stayed in strut, not giving Joey a good shot.
“Most of them started to move off, but they all came back to the jake decoy,” Jeremy said. “They strutted around it, spurred it and knocked it over. All of the toms were in perfect range and Joey waited for a clear shot. As soon as he stuck his head out, Joey got it. It was his first turkey.”
And Joey didn’t start off with a small tom — the mature bird had a 10-inch beard and 1 1/8-inch spurs.
“I popped him right where I was supposed to,” Joey said. “But I thought they were pretty mean to that decoy. They really beat him up.”
After the hunt, it was off to the saltwater for a little fishing.
“We were back at the camp around 8 a.m.,” Jeremy said. “We headed back to Port O’ Connor and met a bunch of family down for spring break. We went to Gulf Beach and played around for a while and then went fishing.”
Joey’s luck continued when the group found a bunch of hungry redfish.
“The redfish bite was on,” Jeremy said. “We caught eight reds — all keepers. It was a really good day.”
And Joey couldn’t remember a better day afield.
“I’ve never had a day like that,” he said. “I am definitely a turkey hunter for life.”