One for Diddy
This is the story of Lee McCubbins, who was tragically killed overseas, and the promise made by a friend to introduce his daughter, Logan, to the world of hunting and pass Lee's love for the outdoors down to her.
While together in Afghanistan Darren and Lee would often talk about their two loves, their children and turkey hunting. This would be a common conversation that the two men would have while serving together in a war zone, making promises and plans to get together once back home, to take their daughters on their first turkey hunt together. In December 2013, Lee would pay the ultimate price before Darren and Lee could materialize their plans.
The promise Darren made to Lee stuck with him, finally the plan came together in April 2018 when Darren flew Logan to Texas for her first turkey hunt.
Lometa, Texas can be found dead center on a map of the Lone Star state. Unlike the cliché image of dry, flat, cactus filled cattle ranches that are usually visualized with the thought of Texas, Lometa is quintessential “Texas Hill Country: made up of rocky rolling green hills, cedars, large oak trees and clear streams.
The night before the hunt, we roosted several longbeards near a lake bottom that birds were using a highway to get to their afternoon destination. Darren wanted to make Logan’s first hunt as comfortable and enjoyable as possible so we carried in portable chairs and attached a SilencerCo Salvo 12 onto Logan’s Benelli to help with sound and recoil reduction.
The setup was perfect. Early that morning the valley rang with spring thunder. Turkey’s firing in all directions. We knew we were in for something special. As the sun came up a light fog and mist formed adding to the magic. A lone hen made her way toward us, followed shortly by an old, weary Tom. We sat and watched as the strutter tried to serenade the hen, even at one point chasing off a curious jake who tried to break up their intimate moment.
While both the hen and jake would make their way to as close as 10 yards away from Logan, the old tom waited just on the edge of Logan’s comfort zone of taking a shot. Between nerves of the moment and hearing her dad’s shooting lessons in her head about never taking a shot unless she was comfortable, we watched as the birds slowly made their way past us, up the hill and out of sight.
While it wasn’t the outcome Darren and Logan were hoping for, it was an incredible moment that will stick with Logan for the rest of her life. After Lunch and a quick lesson on turkey calling, we headed back to the lake bottom hoping to cut a turkey off coming back to roost, but like all well made plans they were shortly thrown out the window. As we began to make our way to the bottom…
Darren called to see if anything was around and was answered immediately by a gobble. Fifteen yards ahead in some thick brush we flushed a hen who flew down to the lake bottom field. The Tom we could hear was closing in and in pursuit, answering every call but moving toward the bottom. We had to act fast and made a quick decision to drop all but our necessary gear and creep our way down to the field as quick as possible, navigating around the lake, and in low areas to hide our presence from any other birds. The decision quickly paid off. As soon as we made it to the other side of the field on the edge of the tree line, two long bears fired off at Darren’s first call, they were close!
Darren quickly belly crawled to set up the decoy as Logan got in position. Moments later two longbeards would appear just over a hill coming straight toward us, answering the call and looking for the hen. This time Logan was ready and her nerves calm, with words of her dad running through her head again. When the two strutters cleared the brush and gave Logan the shot she did not hesitate. The birds lined up perfectly. “Kill em,” Darren whispered. Logan centered the red dot on the lead Toms neck, just like we practiced. A shot rang out followed by joyous celebration. One shot. Two birds. One for her…and one for her “Diddy.”
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