The below success stories, like the photo above showing Jason Haga’s son’s successful harvest from the 2023 Spring Youth and Apprentice Turkey Hunting Weekend, were emailed to DWR at firstname.lastname@example.org. Congratulations on the successful hunts!
From 2023 Spring Youth and Apprentice Turkey Hunting Weekend: Noah Deskins was able to take this gobbler on April 1 in between rain and wind with his dad and brother Rylan. 21 lbs. 8 oz., 11″ beard, 1 ½” spurs
“We were hunting in Botetourt County. When we heard a gobble from across the creek, we quickly got into position and set up our decoy. While working to get the gobbler to cross the creek, something came out of the corner of our eye. It was a coyote running away from our decoy; he figured it out it was not the meal he had thought it was. The coyote made a quick exit and somehow the gobbler did not see him as he was out of sight coming up the creek bank. After coming up from the creek, he ended up making a wide half circle around us at about 50 yards. That is when a hen came into sight. Realizing the tom was no longer responding to our call and concerned he would be leaving quickly with the hen, Noah took the shot with his 12 gauge shotgun,” wrote James Deskins.
From 2023 Spring Turkey Season: “Came to the Eastern Shore on my first turkey hunt and went back home with a tom,” wrote Kevin DeFriest.
From the 2022-2023 Firearms Deer Season: “What an amazing harvest. Last year I was gone on a deployment, so I missed the entire hunting season. This year I’ve hit it harder than ever during archery and then into rifle season. Putting in miles each day hunted, wearing holes in my hunting pants from walking, hours in the tree stand, saddle, and on foot. I made every mistake in the book this season while pursuing the harvest of a mountain white-tail buck. I knew I’d make the right choices at some point and maybe get a sliver of good luck,” wrote Zac Church.
“The night before, I e-scouted using Spartan Forge to an area I hunted years ago as a young man. The road to get there has been closed for over five years. They finally re-opened access, but the road ends a few miles up from where it used too. I drove to the end of that recently open road and hiked two miles in the mountains to an area where most people dare to attempt to get to in these steep Appalachian Mountains and set up after daylight with my grandfathers lever-action 30-30. I set up on the exact ridge I had picked the evening prior and found an empty buck bed, a few small rubs and a fresh scrape.
“After sitting a short time, I see other deer down the ridge from me that morning. Debating on making a move, I decided against it knowing that I picked where I was for a good reason, to trust my original judgement and my gut. An hour later, at 11:37 December 2nd, 2022, this guy walks right to where I thought he’d be headed and I was able to make some ethical shots on him with my 30-30 at around 55 yards as he was continuing to head into bow range. After the movement stops, I know I’ve killed the largest buck to date in my life, and on public land. Gross score was 118 7/8. After multiple trips in and out for hunting and packing out the deer, my watch totaled 15 miles for the entire day. Proud and honored for his life and the harvest to continue mine and my family’s life.”