This week my dad shot a gobbler with a ten inch beard. I didn't have the gun on him, and didn't want to spook him by moving the gun from 12 oclock to 9 oclock with the turkey standing in the wide open, plus, now dad's tagged out in NC and will have to buy a VA license like I did to make this year's season last longer than 1 week. We hear another bird, real shrill gobble(typically tells me its a 3+ year old) off a little ways. We go set up on him. I'm sitting just south of a bend in an old logging path, and the ground inside the bend, opposite side of the path from me, is a few feet higher than the road. A turkey stretches his head up above the high ground, and I can tell he's a jake, just didn't have that gobbler look to him. He comes up on the high ground and sure enough, little 3 inch beard. Another bird comes up behind him with wattles red, and I say here's the old boy. Just like a smart old bird letting the youngster take the lead and risk danger. As he stands tall, I put him down. I race to the spot to where he's flopping and claim my trophy, a scrawny first year jake. There's only one way I can describe my feelings. That's one bird I'll never get to hear gobble. If you want to shoot a jake, help yourself, but why do you turkey hunt? I have a deer hunter friend who once said, "There's no skill in shooting a turkey." This guy, God love him, buys corn and scatters it all over the woods to shoot deer, but doesn't think it takes skill to call up a turkey. Actually, the one bird he's killed, he used a hedgerow to sneak up on him. My question is where's the thrill? I turkey hunt cause I love to hear 'em gobble, strut, and I love to watch 'em show off. I won't begrudge anyone for taking a jake; they do taste better. But truely I felt sick when I realized what I had done this week. A gobbler can fool you in all kinds of ways, and I got fooled Thursday. I tagged out, and I feel lucky to have had some success this year, but next year when I enter the spring woods I will know that something will be missing. And I'll be sorry fo it.