Ryan Smith

Ryan Smith

Hometown: Jasper, Indiana Age: 15 years old

Read Ryan's Story...

The greatest gobbler hunt of my life would have to have been a few years ago. It was my third season afield chasing gobblers and I had only taken one at this point in my hunting career. This year was particularly hard on me because I lost my grandfather, the person who introduced me to the outdoors. He was the person who took me hunting for the first time and from that day on I was determined to chase every animal my state allowed me to hunt. But now back to the story.
My father and I were no expert hunters. We had learned some tips and tricks from close turkey hunting friends who helped us learn along the way. That season I was determined to go out and hunt for myself. I wanted nothing more than to kill a gobbler that I called in myself. My dad was new to the sport, too, so I was the one doing all the calling work on this youth season hunt. Early in the hunt I had nice strutter working his way toward me, and thought I was going to close the deal. But a gun shot from a nearby property seemed to have spooked him and he skittishly wandered away. I thought for sure my morning was over. I decided to stick it out instead of packing it in, and around 9:30 a.m. I heard a nearby gobble of a lonely tom. I threw him a few yelps, and he responded.
The next thing I knew I had three stutters rushing from the holler in front of me and into my decoy spread. It was now the moment of truth and with the help on my Remington 12 gauge, I made the 30-yard shot. I rushed out to my bird overcome with pride that I had accomplished my goal of calling in a bird and taking it all by myself. But I can take all the credit because I know my Grandpa was watching down over me that spring morning in the turkey woods.