Kelly Bostian: First-time turkey-hunting success stories
BY KELLY BOSTIAN Outdoors
Sunday, April 08, 2012
4/08/12 at 6:38 AM
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THE WEEKEND brought warm mornings of heavy dew, damp cool grass and hot thundering gobblers.
Oklahoma's youth turkey season opened last weekend as one of the warmest in recent memory with taller grass and more greenery than usual, and for at least three first-time turkey hunters it lined up to create three textbook early-morning turkey hunts.
Matthew Gawey, 11, connected on an Osage County Rio early March 31. Friends Jackson Utley and Parker Boswell, both 14, made a couple of April fools out of a pair of Lincoln County toms Sunday morning.
World Pro Tips contributor Jack Morris put Gawey and his father in position for an intercept on the edge of a wheat field. "They're going to walk that edge," Morris said. "They won't want to go out in this wet grass."
Morris called to the gobblers and had them worked up, encouraging them to come along the edge in his direction.
Gawey's first shot was a clean miss just over the 21-pound tom's back but the startled bird only hopped a few feet, stopped, and a second later Gawey cut him down. "Yay, a turkey for me!" the youngster shouted.
When we met with Utley and Boswell later that afternoon, the first order of business was patterning their shotguns and practicing with some targets.
Art Utley and his son Jackson were the first team up Sunday morning, and Jackson was well tuned with his 20-gauge autoloader. They sat like statues as two long-beards dropped to approach from opposite directions.
One gobbler's caution faded as the second rushed in to court a hen decoy just about 15 yards from Utley's feet as his father told him to get ready to shoot.
The decoy spun and her stake bent as the gobblers got a little too friendly. One of the birds shied away and made the choice easy. Utley slapped the trigger and dusted his first tom with authority.
"There you go, good job!" his father said, slapping his son's leg. "That's how it's done right there!"
Right there, and right in another place. With Utley's bird in-hand, we went looking for another bird on Utley's ranch.
With two toms finally located, several hundred yards distant, we rushed to set up. Morris moved behind us again and laid out a few clucks and cuts. Fifteen minutes later they crossed a dike at 50 yards, gobbling, thundering down at us.
Somewhat exposed to the toms, Utley quietly coached Boswell to remain motionless and keep his gun pointed at the gobblers. The birds took their sweet time coming another 10 yards or so, often standing too close together to allow a shot, but Boswell was well prepared when the moment presented itself and he closed the door with his kill and a wrap-up on a textbook trio of first-time birds.
Original Print Headline: First-time success
Oklahoma Turkey Season
Check details and license requirements at
- Open April 6-May 6 except in eight-county Southeast region
- Open April 23-May 6 in Southeast region
- Southeast region youth hunt April 21-22
Parker Boswell (left) and Jackson Utley, both 14, pose with their first turkeys killed April 1 during Oklahoma's youth turkey season on Art Utley's Wild Fowl Ranch in Lincoln County. Boswell's bird weighed 19 pounds, had a 9-inch beard and 1-inch spurs. Utley's weighed 22 pounds, had a 10 1/2-inch beard and 1-inch spurs. KELLY BOSTIAN/Tulsa World
Matt Gawey, 11, poses with the double-bearded Rio Grande turkey he killed in Osage County on March 31. The 21-pound gobbler had double beards 7 3/4 and 8 1/8th inches long and 1 1/8-inch spurs. KELLY BOSTIAN/Tulsa World