Novice hunter Waleed Rabbat poses with his first turkey, a gorgeous gobbler with a 9-inch beard. Tom Roth / For Lakes Region Weekly

May means turkey season, and what a time it is to be in the woods! Gobblers are locked up with their hens and susceptible to calling and decoying.

Tom Roth is a freelance outdoor writer who lives in Raymond on the shore of Sebago Lake. He has been fishing and hunting in this region for more than 30 years and is a Registered Maine Guide.

Recently, I enjoyed a turkey hunt with a newbie to the sport and we had quite an adventure.

Fourteen-year-old Waleed Rabbat doesn’t know how good he has it. His mom owns a farm where she raises her beautiful Arabian horses and her property is loaded with deer and turkey. I was given the green light to hunt the property and Waleed expressed an interest in trying the sport. After a course on safe firearm handling, patterning his shotgun on a turkey target and a trip to the woods to set up a blind, he and I were off to get him a bird.

We started out on Youth Day with high hopes. We had three different gobblers around us in nearby woods, but none would come to our calls. We did get excited when several hens worked the field with young birds, but none were legal jakes or toms.

The following weekend I could hunt, so we both grabbed our shotguns and headed out to the blind. We were optimistic as Waleed’s mom, Jody, had reported seeing a flock of birds with a big gobbler during the week.

I chatted with Waleed in the blind about our strategy over coffee (me) and hot chocolate (him). I thought I would do some calling as the sun rose and see if a nearby gobbler answered. If we could not pull him in, we would stalk-hunt to find him.


The sun rose and we were saddened to not hear a bird gobble. Had they moved off? Had they been shot during the week? I elected to sit tight and try a few more calls. We eventually heard gobblers, but they were way off in the distance.

After about an hour of questioning our strategy, we heard a hen cluck behind us. She clucked a few more times, so I tried an old turkey trick: I mimicked her. Each time she called, I repeated her call exactly. If she clucked twice, I clucked twice, and so on. This was too much for the old girl, she came out into the field and I told the young hunter to get ready. She had two young birds with her, but no gobbler. All of a sudden, a thunderous gobble came from behind us. It was a tom!

I had three decoys set up in front of our blind. A lone hen and a jake mounting a hen. Nothing riles up a mature gobbler like a young stud getting frisky with his harem. The gobbler strutted from the woods, fanned out his tail and started over to the fake jake. Waleed knew to hold the bead of the shotgun on the gobbler’s head and squeeze the trigger, and when I told him to take the shot, he did just that. He anchored the bird and it never flopped or flinched. A great shot!

Surprisingly, the other birds remained, perhaps unsure of what just transpired. Waleed whispered that there were jakes just coming out of the woods. We waited so I could get a bird or perhaps he could get a second one. After a few minutes, it was clear the birds weren’t coming closer, so we went out to tag and drag his gobbler.

I was proud to introduce a new hunter to the sport and wasn’t surprised when he said he wanted to deer hunt this fall. Together, we processed the bird and made turkey sausage and turkey jerky that morning. We even ate some of the sausage with fresh eggs that Jody collected from her chickens. Talk about a farm-to-table meal! Good luck to all turkey hunters this month, young and old!

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