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Ryder’s First Bird


Super Moderator
My son Ryder has been my hunting buddy since he was 4, heading to the turkey blind whenever he could and he was finally able to get behind the gun this year. In previous years we had tried to shoot the gun but he was a little gun shy of the kick and we both agreed that he needed to wait until he was confident before heading to the woods.

Well this year was the year, we got him shooting his youth 12ga and he was shooting great and more importantly confident behind the gun. Now it was on dad to put a bird in his lap.

Day 1 of the season, we had a bird very fired up right off the roost but he would not commit to crossing a creek, so we got to enjoy his screaming gobbles for about 1.5hrs and just hang out in the blind. After about a three hour hunt and no other birds sighted we decided to call it a morning.

4:30am comes early
Ryder 2022-4.jpg

This past Saturday we were at it again. Ryder was pumped up and said I think today is going to be the day. We got set up and again had some morning action but still couldn’t get anything to commit to our spread. We decided to make a midday move to hunt a farm closer to home. As we drove by that farm I saw 4 toms and they were working toward an area we could slide into and get setup. We decided to run and gun with no blind which would prove to be a little mistake.

After settling it it was only about 10 minutes until a hen made her way trough the timber and into our spread. A couple of minutes later I glanced over my shoulder and saw a Tom in full strut at 25yds. I told Ryder to remain as still as possible and get ready. As the bird got to 5 yards he started doing the mean sideways walk towards the decoys, but that also put his eyes directly on us. Ryder needed the bird to clear a small tree that he could not swing around to get a shot but it was too late the bird realized he didn’t like something and ran off about 40yds. He slowly made his way behind us gobbling and strutting after that so he wasn’t too spoked, just didn’t like something. To say we were bummed was an understatement. Ryder said he wanted to continue to hunt that spot since we had seen many more birds than that. About 30 minutes later it paid off. I glanced to my left and saw 4 birds coming on a string right to the decoys. As they approached I hear “I am so nervous”. I let him know he that this is the point we all get nervous, just execute what you practiced, place the bead right at the bottom of his neck and squeeze the trigger.

As the four birds cleared our enemy tree from 30 minutes prior, I told him to pick one out and I would pop his head for a shot. He beared down, said I am on him, head pop and The 12ga ate. As the bird folded Ryder jumped up instantly and said I hammered him and gave me a big hug. He put a great shot on him just as he practiced and his first bird laid at 20yds.

I have to admit, I think this hunt was better than any that I have ever been behind the trigger for. I can still remember how excited my Dad was when I harvested my first bird with him 29 years ago and I cannot describe the feeling of passing on this tradition to my son.

Congrats Buddy on your first bird!

Ryder 2022-3.jpg

Ryder 2022-2.jpg


Super Moderator
Great job Ryder and great job to dad as well. I have been thru that 4 times now with my son and with the bird he killed last month, he was more excited than the first 3 he shot. He was more nervous and even more excited. It is so awesome to see them experience what we all love so much.


Active Member
Yeah that'll work, great memory right there congrats! Makes me think back to when my kids were after their first.

"we both agreed that he needed to wait until he was confident before heading to the woods." This statement is so meaningful and needs to be applied more often.


Congratulations both of you!!! Hopefully my kids will be into hunting when we get to having them.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


Every Two Year Election Covid Variant
Congrats Ryder! Great story and the memories will be the best


Well-Known Member
Good for you guys! I loved taking my boys out when they were younger. Some great memories
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