Tyler Crosby poses with the turkey he shot last Saturday, April 30th, 2022, on youth day. Credit: Courtesy of Kevin Crocker

Tyler Crosby was pretty excited about youth turkey day on Saturday.

His father, Nick Crosby, went to wake up Tyler at 3:30 a.m.

“I went into his room, and he was already awake, and ready to get a start on the day,” Nick said.

Tom turkeys sport a beard like this one on a bird harvested Saturday, April 30th, 2022, by Tyler Crosby. (Courtesy of Kevin Crocker)

It’s no great surprise that Tyler was ready to go, since the 14-year-old from Hermon had shot two turkeys on youth day last year and followed that up with another bird during the 2021 fall season.

Tyler was among nearly 600 hunters ages 16 and under who harvested a wild turkey on youth day, which kicked off the 2022 spring hunting season in Maine.

The preliminary count from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife reported Saturday’s harvest at 567. That’s an 18 percent increase over youth turkey day in 2021.

The Crosbys got dressed, gathered some snacks and headed for Orrington, where they met up with Kevin Crocker, Tyler’s maternal grandfather.

“The plan was to be there by 4:45 a.m. so that we could get to the blind before legal hunting time,” Nick said. “We get out of the trucks, and before we can grab decoys, we hear the turkeys firing up for the day, gobbling over and over, and what seemed to be very close to us.”

It was so close, in fact, that the party feared one of the gobblers might be next to the blind that they had set up. They tried to sneak along the treeline toward the blind.

This photo shows the spur on a tom harvested on Saturday, April 30th, 2022, by Tyler Crosby. Credit: Courtesy of Kevin Crocker

“We get to the blind, and my son sees a turkey fly down from the roost and run off,” Nick said. “This is not ideal, but we don’t give up, and set up in our blind anyway, as we still are hearing gobbles all over.”

Tyler positioned himself in a chair inside the blind, while Kevin laid on the ground. Nick snuck into the field, where he set up a hen decoy, then scurried back to lay on the ground.

“My father-in-law laid a few hen calls and the Tom is hammering responses back,” Nick said.

Within 10 or 15 minutes, two toms approached from along the treeline.

“As soon as they make eye contact with the decoy, they are coming on a line,” Nick said. “My son lines up his shot and knocks down the first tom. The other one runs off, but that didn’t matter. My son was so happy and it was a very exciting morning.”

The turkey weighed 16 pounds and sported a 9-inch beard with spurs measuring seven-eighths of an inch.

Pete Warner

Pete graduated from Bangor High School in 1980 and earned a B.S. in Journalism (Advertising) from the University of Maine in 1986. He grew up fishing at his family's camp on Sebago Lake but didn't take...