This week’s Challenge of the Hunt Video blog series comes from Intrepid Outdoors Lead Video Editor Wade McMillin. Wade examines the special relationship shared between a father and son on a Spring Turkey hunt at the Solitude Ranch near Devils Tower, Wyoming.
The Solitude Ranch at Devils Tower, Wyoming hosts a hefty handful of big game and turkey hunters every season. It also plays host to many youth hunts and owner Mike Schmid, producer of Intrepid Outdoors, welcomes children of all ages to his enormous hunting and working cattle ranch with open arms every year.
Mike especially has a soft spot when it comes to his own family. In 2012, Solitude Ranch manager Frank Amos, who is also Mike’s nephew, decided to take his son Karson Amos into the turkey woods for what he hopes will become a family tradition. Frank lives on the Solitude Ranch with his wife Kayla and his two children, Karson and Kori. Originally, Frank tried to put his 10-year-old daughter Kori on a Spring Gobbler. Kory didn’t find much luck, though, yet she still created some priceless memories with her father. So a few days later, Frank let his 8-year-old son Karson have a crack at the same opportunity.
Many eight-year-olds aren’t exactly keen on the idea of waking up at the crack of dawn on a weekend morning, but Frank was able to yank Karson out of bed without much of a struggle. They headed out to their Ameristep Carnivore ground blind and the hunt was on.
After a few dark hours, Frank, Karson and cameraman Josh Gullett, who is also a hand at the Solitude Ranch, finally saw some birds strut in. A few hens and jakes passed their blind as Karson looked on in sheer excitement and Frank called with his Flextone Scarface pot call. Then, the moment of truth came for young Karson. A bigger than average Spring Tom made his way within shotgun distance and Karson let off a blast, dropping the gobbler immediately.
Frank, like any proud father, erupted right away thrilled with his sons shot. Frank just started screaming, “You got him. You shot him.” Frank’s normally low voice actually squeaked as he was overwhelmed with delight. Josh then joked about the squeal of Frank’s voice as the cameraman made the wisecrack that his ranching partner was making “Bob Lott noises.” And just as a side note, Bob (a producer of Intrepid Outdoors) often squeaks uncontrollably at times.
Once the father and son gave the Gobbler a few minutes to expire, Karson made a mad dash at the bird and his accomplishment settled in on the way to his Turley. Frank soon called his wife Kayla and handed the phone to his son. And although it was Frank’s phone number calling, Kayla just knew it was Karson. She asked her son if he “got one,” and Karson immediately replied “Yeah, huge.”
After the phone call, Karson tossed the bird over his shoulder and the Merriams was nearly bigger than Karson. So Frank had to take over, carrying the bird home where the two proud hunters met Kayla. The overjoyed mother looked as if she might come to tears, kneeling down next to her son and telling him that she actually heard the shot from the family’s ranch cottage. She told Karson just how proud she was of him and the youngster’s quick answer was, “He’s a huge gobbler, alright!”
At Intrepid Outdoors, we strongly believe that America’s wildlife needs America’s youth. Like any older outdoorsmen, youth hunters also play a crucial role in managing wildlife populations. Frank Amos knows this all too well and I would be remiss if I didn’t recognize him as an outstanding father. Not only is Frank instilling a strong set of morals into Karson at a young age, but he is also creating memories with his little boy; reminisces he will never forget.
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