In the predawn darkness of 4:40 a.m., Aaron Henderson of Camden imitated an owl hoot while standing on the edge of a field in Lincolnville. With him was 14-year-old Hunter Schade of Rockport, an eighth-grade student at the Riley School.


Before the sound of the owl hoot had faded away in the nearby woods, it was answered by loud gobbling from tom turkeys. Henderson knew he was close to where the two would be hunting. He quickly and quietly set up a portable ground blind and the pair settled in, waiting for legal hunting to start at 4:55 a.m.


These turkey hunters had been awake and ready to go shortly after 3 a.m. Of course, trying to sleep the night before the opening of any hunting season is difficult, but this day was special.


Saturday, May 1 was the Youth Hunting Day for wild turkey. This special day is for youngsters ages 10 to 15, who possess a junior hunting license and a spring wild turkey permit. On this day, the young hunters must be under the direct supervision of an adult, who may not carry a firearm.


This year — for the first time — youth hunters are allowed to take a second bearded turkey during the spring season. This new law would soon have special meaning for this young, excited hunter.


Henderson used a box call to coax the gobblers from the tree to the ground, and had them heading towards the blind and bringing them closer to an eager Hunter Schade. At 5:12 a.m. — just 17 minutes into the hunt — with two toms strutting just 14 yards from the blind, Schade aimed his single-shot, 12-gauge shotgun, loaded with number 6 shot and pulled the trigger.


He had a clean kill. Schade didn’t have one gobbler on the ground, but two. Hunter Schade is most likely the first hunter in the state to legally harvest two turkeys in the spring season, and is surely the only one to do it with a single shot.


The toms — weighing 14.5 and 16.75 pounds — were taken to the tagging station and then back home.


Getting up around 3 a.m. may not have been easy, but the rewards of this hunt far outweighed a little lost sleep.


It’s obvious that Hunter Schade lives up to his name.


Congratulations to all the successful youth hunters and good luck to everyone who heads out for the regular season that opens on Monday, May 3.


Have a safe week in your part of the great outdoors.


Ken Bailey is the Outdoors Editor for VillageSoup. He can be reached by e-mail at or phone at 446-4243.