Madelyn Hall, a 6-year-old from Elizabethtown, killed her first turkey on opening day of the youth season. It was a big one, weighing 21 pounds and sporting a 10.5-inch beard.

Her dad, Wesley Hall had watched the Bladen County bird for a week leading up to the season opener, and thought he had the turkey’s routine figured out before taking Madelyn to the woods at 6 a.m. that Saturday morning.

“We set up where that bird would fly down every morning while I was scouting, but on that morning, the turkey flew down in the wrong direction,” he said.

To make matters worse, the gobbler immediately hooked up with some hens, and no amount of calling would convince him to leave his harem.

“We sat there from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. That’s a long time for a 6-year-old to sit still, but she was patient. Around 9:55, the hens started breaking up and leaving, and that’s when the gobbler finally started moving toward us,” said Hall.

Madelyn sat in her dad’s lap and readied for the encounter, and when it was time to pull the trigger, she did so.

“She held the gun and shot all by herself. When she pulled the trigger and the bird went down, I was honestly shocked. I mean, she only weighs 51 pounds, and she did it all by herself after sitting there for so long. That’s just impressive to me as a dad, watching your 6-year-old daughter do that,” he said.

The young huntress was using a youth model Remington 870 in 20 gauge, and pulled the trigger at 20 yards. They were using no decoys on the hunt.

“We wanted him to have to look for a hen, so we didn’t use a decoy. Sometimes when a decoy is present, the gobbler will hang up once he sees it, so we didn’t use one. We got lucky when the hens left him, because he was determined to stay with them as long as they would stick around,” said Hall.

“She was happy, but I believe I was even happier,” he said.