Cameraman gets his chance during turkey hunt


“Mr. Mom” is a classic movie focusing on role reversal. Michael Keaton loses his job in corporate America and stays home as his wife joins the workforce to support the family.  

I, too, have a role reversal story that begs to be told.

This story begins on opening day of the spring wild turkey season. For the first time that I know of, possibly forever, the Illinois and Missouri turkey seasons opened on the same day.  

Naturally I had permits for both states. Theoretically, I could kill turkeys in both states on the same morning. That was “Plan A.”

But I am not known for doing anything the easy way.  

“Plan A” also included getting all of this on film for an upcoming MOUNTAIN SCREAMER GAME CALLS turkey hunting DVD.  

My current cameraman is 28-year-old Missourian Jason Waters. Jason is a hunter, but had never killed a turkey.

On opening day we were filming in Adams County, Illinois. Jason and I set up well before first light and were treated to a massive amount of gobbling from 6 to 8 toms.  

The birds gobbled hard from the roost, but shut up when they hit the ground. One bird continued his methodical calling, so we went to him.

My very first run of calls was met immediately by a gobble. He was well within 100 yards. I was using a MOUNTAIN SCREAMER slate call.  

Although the glass calls are now more popular than the old-fashioned slate, the slate is still a tool that should be in every turkey hunter’s vest.

Within minutes the big bird was in sight and quickly died at about 20 yards. My young cameraman was ecstatic.  

“That’s the first turkey I ever saw die!” he said excitedly. “And I got it all on film,” he added.

My Illinois tom weighed well over 24 pounds. It was a great start, but to accomplish “Plan A,” we had to get on our horse and get across the creek to Missouri.  

We got to Lewis County about 10:45 a.m.  

“We don’t have much time,” I said to Jason. 

“But we have to try,” I ended.  

I could only manage to call in three hens, but Jason got some great video footage. It was really good practice for him.   

Now we had to defer to “Plan B,” which was to try to film a kill in Missouri on the second day.

I knew full well that Jason had Missouri turkey tags.  

“Give me the camera,” I said to him. 

“Why? What did I do wrong?” he asked.  

As I handed him the gun I said, “Today you kill your first turkey. I will film you.”
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The expression on his face was priceless. I almost think he was about to say “No.”  

But he took the gun and began to express his gratitude for this unexpected opportunity.

He continues to thank me to this day.

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