On Saturday, April 13, opening day of North Dakota’s wild turkey season, an eight-year-old hunter named Archer Eagleson killed the jake of a lifetime while hunting a cattle ranch with his dad. Eagleson shot the all-white turkey just before last light after it charged toward his decoys from 300 yards away. The young hunter is only eight years old but he’s been hunting since he was three and has seven turkeys to his name, his father, Jace Eagleson, tells Field & Stream.

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“We were out scouting about 10 days before the season when we spotted the white jake for the first time,” Eagleson says. “We watched him every evening for three or four days leading up to the season, so we had a good idea of where he’d be roosting on opening day.”

The father-son duo set up before day break on opening morning and eventually had four toms come into their decoys. They opted to pass on those birds, though, when the white jake never showed up. “That was a first for us—passing on any sort of turkey,” Eagleson says. “But we were waiting for the white one.”

A young hunter poses with an all-white jake taken in North Dakota.
Left: The Eaglesons pose with Archer’s all-white jake / Right: an up-close photos of the jake’s colorless spurs Jace Eagleson.

They got another chance later that evening after taking a break from turkey hunting to attend one of the Archer’s shooting competitions at the local 4H center. They arrived back at the ranch around 6 p.m., put out a strutting tom decoy and jake-hen combo, and then hopped back into their ground blind. By 6:45 the white jake was in sight, along with three other jakes that frequent the area.

“During our scouting trips, these jakes seemed to rule the roost. They would run the gobblers right out every time one would come near that field,” Eagleson recalls. “I don’t normally put out a tom decoy this early in the season, but I thought: Well, if they get mad at that tom they might run over and try to beat him up; and that’s exactly what they did once they saw the decoy. They came running right in.”

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The birds eventually closed the distance, from 300 yards when the Eagleson’s first spotted them down to just 20 yards from their ground blind when Archer took his shot on the white jake. He downed the bird with a 20 gauge Remington 870 that Jace got for his 10th birthday in 1991. “The word is spreading, and Archer’s kind of a celebrity around here now,” Eagleson says. “But it’s nothing new in the turkey world. He’s now got 4 toms and three jakes total.”