The April 2 youth turkey hunting day did not go unnoticed in Anson County, where six young hunters set out at Buchanan Shoals to hunt gobblers. Two boys on their first turkey hunts ever hit pay dirt and scratched out the tom that they will likely never forget.

Guide Paul Kiker was paired with 13-year-old Morgan Levy of Charlotte, and they hunted a clover food plot overlooking the Pee Dee River. Kiker had scouted the area the day before and reported seeing fresh tracks from a big gobbler in the food plot that had clover only about one-inch tall. Kiker met Levy and father Bruce Levy, who decided to sit out the hunt, at the hunting lodge at 6 a.m.

The hunting party drove to within 1,500 yards of the food plot and walked in total darkness down a woods road.

"I told Morgan that when we got to the clover I would leave him sitting on a tree that faces east towards the food plot and the river while I went out and set up a hen decoy and a jake decoy within gun range," Kiker said.

Levy was armed with a 20-gauge shotgun, and did not have to wait long for his hunt to get interesting.

"The gobbler ended up being roosted about 300 yards away from us in hardwoods right by the river, and he gobbled at 6:30 a.m.," Kiker said. "I'll never know how that bird did not get spooked by me rummaging out there with those decoys."

Kiker yelped softly with a mouth diaphragm call and the big turkey gobbled back, and Levy got his gun up and in the ready position.

Five minutes after they heard the tom fly down, it entered the food plot and began strutting towards the decoys. At 6:40, Levy fired his turkey load at the bird just 22 yards away and made a clean kill with one shot.

Meanwhile, guide Kyle Eudy had taken youth hunter Thomas Maness and father Dana to a 200-acre block of hardwoods to listen for gobbling.

Moving within 400 yards of a cooperative gobbler, Thomas sat down with his single-shot 20-gauge and Eudy called the bird to about 40 yards. The bird abruptly stopped and hung up.

After almost 10 minutes of calling to the bird that would come no closer, Eudy called for a shot and Thomas drilled the bird to complete a near-perfect first-ever turkey hunt.

Tales of woe are always a part of turkey hunting, and youth hunter Michael McKinney and his father Brent were hunting out of a pop-up blind when three toms came within range. Michael took his best three shots, and the birds departed with a fresh education that turkey season.

Youth Rusty Ransom also had a miss on a gobbler when his father Russell called in a single bird.

The two other hunting parties also came up empty on their quests to bag a youth-day turkey on this hunt, but Kiker is sure that they everyone had a ball.

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