4-year-old Carolina hunter tags out

4-year-old
Four-year-old Brody Winfree tagged out during North Carolina's 2020 turkey hunting season, shooting both gobblers with his .410 shotgun.

Scouting, shooting practice pays off

Mark Winfree is a proud father of his four-year-old son, Brody Winfree, both of Stokesdale, North Carolina. Brody killed his first turkey of the year on April 5 during the N.C. Youth Season. And he tagged out on April 22 with another fine long beard.

“My son accomplished something pretty awesome for somebody his age,” Winfree said. “Brody practiced for the past couple of months with his 410 (shotgun) and we well prepared for his opportunity to get a long beard.”

His father was also prepared for the opening day of the youth season. While Brody was target practicing, his father scouted the fields on their hunting property in Rockingham County. And he spotted several birds in a field he felt would be good for the opening week. He set up a ground blind and they slipped into the blind at first light on the morning of April 5.

Shortly after dawn, several turkeys sounded off and came to the woods edge but failed to come out into the field. The decoy and his father’s smooth calling was not quite enough to get these birds to commit. After some more calling and praying, some other birds slipped in from behind the blind and came right straight to the decoy. Brody’s eyes lit up when the birds walked into the field.

“Brody picked out the ‘struta’ as he calls it and sealed the deal,” he said.

It was a good day. But the season was long from being over for this young hunter.

Second gobbler of the season whips young hunter’s decoy

In fact, a little over two weeks later, his father found another bird roosting off the edge of a field on their Guilford County hunting land. It looked like a clean and ample opportunity to get the job done. And the next morning on April 22, the hunting party slipped into the ground blind long before daylight in hopes the bird would fly right into the field in front of the blind. They set up decoys again and hoped the bird would come right in at daylight.

Just as they thought, the bird started gobbling at first light and flew down right into the field.

“This bird was fired up and gobbling like crazy. After a few yelps, the bird was on the ground and running right to the decoys,” he said.

It turned into a battle between the overzealous gobbler and the flock of decoys. Brody was excited and watched as the Tom turkey came in and tried to show who was boss.

“Once the decoy was completely beat to the ground, Brody was finally able to get a shot at his second and final bird to tag out,” he said.

It was an exciting turkey season for the Winfrees and will never be forgotten in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. A little scouting, patience, and a lot of 410 shooting practice made 2020 one to remember. It remains a mystery who is happier after this great feat, Brody or his dad. 

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Jeff Burleson
About Jeff Burleson 1410 Articles
Jeff Burleson is a native of Lumberton, N.C., who lives in Myrtle Beach, S.C. He graduated from N.C. State University with a degree in fisheries and wildlife sciences and is a certified biologist and professional forester for Southern Palmetto Environmental Consulting.

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