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Name: Brad Juaire
IDA Staff Since: 08/10/07 12:00 AM
Website/Email: brad.juaire@in-depthoutdoors.com

Location : Wisconsin
Species : Turkey
Ian's First Turkey by Brad Juaire

10.25 inch beard, 1 inch spurs and 19 lbs 14 oz.
The 2012 WI Youth Turkey hunt was certainly one that I will never forget. My son Ian had been anticipating and preparing for this hunt for a very long time. It all started out a year ago when he worked extremely hard to obtain his hunter safety certificate. The next thing was to find a youth shotgun that Ian could handle and one that could get the job done. After a few shooting lessons, the next thing was to find some camo clothes, boots, shooting sticks, gloves, mask etc… We even watched a few turkey hunting shows and talked about when and when not to take the shot. Needless to say, we were prepared and excited for the hunt!

Fortunately, I was able to get some scouting done during the week and found a tom working an area in which I was very familiar with. The problem was sometimes he would roost in a woodlot near a small field and other evenings he would be across a heavily traveled road some 400 yards away and roost in the swamp bottoms next to a big field. I’ve been in these types of situations before and it can be frustrating trying to figure out where to set up in the morning.

We arrived Fri evening to our hunting cabin after dark so we couldn’t put the tom to bed and I had to guess where he would roost. I decided to set up Sat morning in the little field hoping the tom would be roosted on the ridge top where he had been the previous morning. We were plenty early and everything was going as planned. We were hunting out of a ground blind placed in a small picked cornfield. Daylight started to break and I decided to let out a few soft yelps hoping to hear a gobble from the ridge top above. Nothing… A couple of minutes went by and then we heard a distant gobble across the road and back in the swamp bottoms. My heart sank thinking that we had picked the wrong location and the tom had roosted across the road. I called a little louder and still didn’t get any response near us but the distant gobbles continued across the road. Yep - I picked the wrong location! Now I was debating on what to do next. I looked at Ian and said, “Let’s move!” We quickly broke down the blind together, grabbed the decoys and started the 400 yard walk across the road and through the big picked cornfield. We had to hurry because it was getting light very fast. We hustled and eventually made it to our new location, got everything set up again and crawled back into the blind as we caught our breadth. We made it! The tom was still gobbling in the bottoms and we were in a great spot.

I started a calling sequence and did not get a response. The tom was a little farther back than what I had hoped for but I was still optimistic that he would enter the big field in our exact location. A few minutes passed and there was a distant shotgun blast and wouldn’t you know it – a tom shock gobbled off the ridge top right where we had just left! I couldn’t believe it! He was roosted by the little field after all and it was a different tom gobbling in the bottoms. My heart sunk even further knowing if we had stayed in the first spot we would have been in a great position of killing that tom. Now I was really disgusted with myself and wondered why he had not answered my calls when we were over there?

To my surprise, Ian remained positive and told me to keep on calling, trying to work the other tom in the bottoms. I yelped a few times and got a little more aggressive. To my surprise, the tom across the road some 400 yards away heard me and gobbled back at us. I knew trying to pull him across the road would be difficult and there would be so many things that could go wrong with all the cars traveling back and forth. A couple of minutes went by and I yelped again and he gobbled back again but this time he sounded a little closer. I peeked out the window in the back of the blind and to my amazement; he was already across the road and headed our way.

I told Ian to peek out the window so he could see him. He smiled as he seen the strutting tom heading our direction. We quickly switched chairs and repositioned ourselves which would allow Ian a good shooting lane before the tom would approach our DSD decoys (a jake with 2 hens). I coached Ian and told him the tom would most likely walk right by our blind a mere 15 yards away and then head to the decoys. Right before he would approach the shooting lane, I would give him a signal and raise my striker so he could shoulder his gun and get ready. I also warned Ian that the tom may run through the shooting lane and if he did, just let him go and then we would shoot him over the decoys in the other shooting window.

The tom continued his approach, 200 yards, 150 yards, 100 yards, 50 yards… slowly and methodically he strutted the entire way. Every now and then I would mix in a very soft yelp. The safety softly clicked and Ian was ready. As the tom got closer we heard him spitting and drumming and that was when Ian said “I’m nervous”. I whispered back, “That’s what it’s all about.” Soon after, I saw the tom out of the corner of my eye a mere 30 yards away and gave Ian the signal to ready his gun. This was really going to happen!

As the tom got closer he picked up speed and he was strutting and walking very quickly right through the shooting lane. Ian was shaking his head back and forth and he was right, he couldn’t shoot and I told him to “just let him go”. The tom was still in full strut as he began circling the jake decoy. Ian was now struggling because his chair was too far over to the left and he couldn’t get into a proper shooting position in the new shooting window. Panic was setting in and I whispered, “Just be patient”. As the tom turned and showed us the back of his tail feathers, I quickly pulled Ian’s chair toward me and repositioned his shooting sticks. As we made this move, the tom started attacking the jake decoy spurring it over and over. He was really aggressive, spurring the decoy again and again while flapping his wings. We made the move successfully and Ian readied himself to take the shot. I told him to wait as the tom continued to spur the jake over and over. Ian was following him waiting for the moment when he could pull the trigger but there was just too much movement.

To my amazement, the tom then jumped on top of the jake decoy, spread out his wings to get his balance and stuck his head up high in the air. It was like he was in slow motion and he just stood there with his neck stretched out. I told Ian to “shoot” and he took a deep breath and the gun roared. The shot hit the mark and the tom flopped to the ground. He shot him right off the decoy!

I grabbed Ian and started shaking him while yelling “You got ‘em buddy! YOU GOT EM’!!!”. Ian said, “I did?” I replied back “YES! YOU GOT EM’!!!” The tom died very quickly as we were hugging each other in the blind. It’s a moment in time that I will never ever forget. The celebration continued as we approached the downed tom and looked at the 10+ inch beard and 1 inch spurs. Ian looked at me and said, “Wow, what a hunt!”

We took our time and relished the moment filled with many pictures and smiles. Later on, I told Ian that I was very proud of him - not so much for killing the tom, but for actually giving turkey hunting a try in the first place. It’s about building cherished memories that will last forever while creating a deeper bond amongst a father and a son.

Ian has watched me over the years and certainly knows that turkey hunting is a big passion of mine. I believe he was a little intimated by it all maybe feeling that he couldn’t live up to my expectations (originally overlooked by me). It’s important not to put too much pressure on our children and allow them time to fall in love with hunting. I know, that is much easier said than done. I believe it all starts out by introducing them to the sport at an early age and then talking very openly with them. The night before the hunt, I did just that and told Ian that my main goal for the weekend was to just have fun and enjoy each other. I told him it’s not all about the kill and it’s more about spending some quality time together. We cracked many jokes that night and even in the morning while we were getting ready. We were having fun before we even started hunting. After the hunt, we went to the local tavern and celebrated with a hearty breakfast while still being dressed in our camo clothes. Ian was all smiles when we were asked by the locals if we had any luck hunting.

Introducing a child to the wonderful world of turkey hunting is truly one of the most enjoyable things in life. Make sure you take the necessary time to make it as fun as possible. Keep the hunts short and fill the slow times with fun filled activities. When they say they are done, be done and let them call the shots. The goal should be for them to want to go turkey hunting again. If you’re able to keep that in perspective, everything else will fall nicely into place.

This hunt will be forever remembered and cherished by Ian and me. A hunter never forgets their first tom that they kill and no one can ever take that away from us. However, what I will remember even more is all the hugs and smiles. I actually got teary eyed as we were walking back to the truck carrying all the gear and Ian’s turkey. It hit me kind of hard and I realized that this was really something special. The sun was now peeking through the horizon and the crisp cold air felt so good in my lungs. I felt so free and very blessed to be able to hunt these incredible birds and to have such a wonderful son as Ian. I’m so proud of whom he is and the young man that he’s turning into. I can only hope that we will have many more cherished hunts as this one.


Brad "Grifter" Juaire
IDO Pro Staff

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IDO Hunting Reporter

Reged: 05/13/07
Posts: 2337
Post Bucks: $18.34
Loc: P4
Re: Ian's First Turkey new [Re: Brad Juaire]
#705154 - 04/10/12 12:47 PM

Congrats Ian on your first bird he's awesome!

Big congrats to dad as well!!!

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Jon Stevens
IDO Hunting Reporter

Reged: 04/03/05
Posts: 969
Post Bucks: $11.22
Loc: Northfield, Wi
Re: Ian's First Turkey new [Re: John_Steinhauer]
#705156 - 04/10/12 02:21 PM

Nice job Ian! Great read too!

“I have always tempered my killing with respect for the game pursued. I see the animal not only as a target but as a living creature with more freedom than I will ever have. I take that life if I can, with regret as well as joy, and with the sure knowledge that nature’s way of fang or claw or exposure and starvation are a far crueler state than I bestow.”—Fred Bear

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Bob Bergeson~
IDO Management Team

Reged: 10/12/09
Posts: 2890
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Loc: cannon falls
Re: Ian's First Turkey new [Re: Jon Stevens]
#705160 - 04/10/12 05:01 PM

Great Job Ian


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Craig D.

Reged: 10/09/06
Posts: 614
Post Bucks: $10.86
Re: Ian's First Turkey new [Re: Bob Bergeson~]
#705169 - 04/10/12 09:17 PM

Congrats Ian! Awesome 1st Bird!

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IDO Hunting Reporter

Reged: 09/22/09
Posts: 739
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Loc: Shoreview, MN
Re: Ian's First Turkey new [Re: Craig D.]
#705172 - 04/10/12 09:43 PM

Nice job putting the hammer down Ian! Sounds like a great hunt . Sounds like he has an admirable teacher as well, there is so much more to hunting besides the moment a weapon is fired. The patience, decisions throughout and good hunting ethics will be with him forever .

You can't catch it or kill it sitting on your couch!

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Jason Ramthun
IDO Hunting Pro Staff

Reged: 09/20/03
Posts: 4851
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Loc: Byron MN
Re: Ian's First Turkey new [Re: todders]
#705177 - 04/11/12 07:37 AM

AWESOME JOB Ian Great bird

Jason "GMAN" Ramthun

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Re: Ian's First Turkey new [Re: Jason Ramthun]
#705179 - 04/11/12 07:45 AM


AWESOME JOB Ian Great bird

X2 Congrats Ian ROOT BEER of course

"The biggest thing to remember is 'Don't Panic'"

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Joel Nelson
IDO Hunting Pro Staff

Reged: 09/21/06
Posts: 1943
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Loc: SE MN
Re: Ian's First Turkey new [Re: Brad Juaire]
#705181 - 04/11/12 08:50 AM

What a hunt! I love the fact that the Tom didn't play ball until his "hen" walked across the road and started yelping again.

Congratulations Ian, the start of whats to come! Congrats to you too dad, I'm happy for the both of you!


Joel Nelson
IDO Hunting Pro-Staff

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Re: Ian's First Turkey new [Re: Brad Juaire]
#705190 - 04/11/12 12:04 PM

Congrats Ian! What an awesome memory for both of you.

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IDO Management Team

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Re: Ian's First Turkey new [Re: Brad Juaire]
#705191 - 04/11/12 12:07 PM

That's awesome Ian!! Great job keeping your cool and finishing off your first of many birds.


John "Kooty" Kutz
IDO Management

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Re: Ian's First Turkey new [Re: Kooty]
#705204 - 04/11/12 04:00 PM

WTG Ian!!! I hope I am successful as you were!!!


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Mike Pearson

Reged: 12/15/05
Posts: 5702
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Loc: Chippewa Falls, WI
Re: Ian's First Turkey new [Re: mbenson]
#705272 - 04/13/12 04:59 PM

Good stuff guys...great job!

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Steve Plantz
IDO Hunting Reporter

Reged: 05/17/01
Posts: 12407
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Loc: SE MN
Re: Ian's First Turkey new [Re: Brad Juaire]
#705288 - 04/14/12 11:53 PM

Congrats Ian great job on your first bird!!!

If you shoot all the good ones, you'll never shoot a great one!

Bluffland Whitetails Association

Minnesota Whitetail Alliance

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little g

Reged: 03/05/09
Posts: 602
Post Bucks: $9.00
Loc: durand WI
Re: Ian's First Turkey new [Re: Steve Plantz]
#705292 - 04/15/12 12:05 PM

way to go Ian sorry I had to miss it but I know you have more tags so I will not miss the second go around.

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Randy Wieland
IDO Hunting Reporter

Reged: 04/29/06
Posts: 1672
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Loc: Lebanon. WI
Re: Ian's First Turkey new [Re: little g]
#705298 - 04/15/12 06:42 PM

Congrats Ian

Lifetime Member WTA
The ONLY thing worse than losing......IS QUITTING!!!!!!!

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Re: Ian's First Turkey new [Re: Brad Juaire]
#705350 - 04/17/12 07:34 AM

Great Job Dad! Great shot Ian right off the top of the decoy! Neat story!

Some time well spent!


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top heavy

Reged: 05/16/10
Posts: 153
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Re: Ian's First Turkey new [Re: bennyJ]
#705528 - 04/22/12 09:44 PM

Congrats Ian! Awesome job

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Re: Ian's First Turkey new [Re: top heavy]
#705704 - 04/28/12 10:35 AM


Congrats Ian! Awesome job


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