A beautiful spring day for youth turkey hunt – and to be outdoors in Pennsylvania

As the sun sleepily cleared the horizon and fluttering songbirds chirped their sweet wakeup serenade, another Pennsylvania morning came to life. My hunting companions and I were granted VIP access to the show from the confines of our three-man ground blind on state land in Lebanon County.

Kaitlin, a seventh-grader on my junior high girls soccer team, and her dad Nate invited me along to call and film the youth turkey hunt since both of them are new to the gobbler game. They tried it solo last year and had two gobblers sounding off nearby but couldn’t get them to cooperate. Needless to say, I was eager to tag along and spend the morning with them as they attempted round two.

Our setup seemed perfect. Situated atop an open grassfield, flanked by evergreens and prime roosting hollows among mixed hardwoods, I staked out my decoy trio of a jake, breeder hen and feeding hen. After a few subtle tree yelps, I soon had the real deal answering me back, with rammy cuts and yelps emanating from the nearby timber.

In short order, an old solitary hen arrived on the scene and marched directly into our decoy spread. She must’ve felt right at home, because she began feeding and hung out for nearly two hours.

It should’ve been the ideal scenario — no better decoy than the real thing — but no toms showed up nor gobbled by 9 o’clock, when Nate had to pack up and depart to coach his younger daughter’s soccer game. Nevertheless, it was an exciting morning, and we had a great time enjoying the spring turkey woods together.

I returned home in time to meet my wife and son for a trip north to look at a used pop-up camper I’d been contemplating buying for several months. After giving it a good once-over with the seller, we decided to invest in the convenient hotel room on wheels, as it will allow us to travel more at an affordable price.

It has all the comforts necessary to make spontaneous summer camping trips to state parks and campgrounds around Pennsylvania, and with built-in heat, I can easily foresee hunting and fishing getaways with friends and family in the near future.

After talking shop for a bit, we stopped by my family’s farm to visit with my parents and make a few casts into the old farm pond. Foster had a ball reeling in bluegills and juvenile largemouth bass, and I enjoyed making more outdoor memories with my son.

We returned back to the homestead before sundown with lots of project plans for the remainder of the weekend. With garden beds to till, asparagus to plant, new chicken pullets to tend and a barn to tidy up for the planting season, there were plenty of chores left on the to-do list.

As the sun dipped below the treetops, spring peepers sang in the foreground and a pair of Canada geese loudly defended their nest from an encroaching pond passerby in the hollow, I simply smiled and gave thanks for another beautiful spring day in Pennsylvania.

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