The "curse of 2010" is finally over. As some of you know already, the turkeys have been giving us the slip so far this year. It has been tough, we have seen birds every outing, but they just would not come in for a shot.
As of yesterday, that has changed. My good hunting buddies Russ Rumble and my son Bill were out, and it was a gorgeous morning to be in the woods. It was supposed to rain, so I left the video camera in the truck, and missed some of the best footage I could have ever gotten in the turkey woods!! The mosquitoes were like blackbirds, almost carrying you away (except for me, because I remembered my Thermacell!!), and the woods were alive with activity. I had deer around me, geese in the fields in front of me, crows were cawing all over the place, and best of all, TURKEYS!!!! Bill had some birds around, he could hear them, but never got a sighting. Russ never saw any while sitting, but did see a couple while he was moving spots.
My first encounter of the morning included 2 hens that decided they didn't like the look of my decoy, and the way I was calling to them, so they decided to gang up on her and beat her up!!! See pics at the end. It was a cool experience that lasted for well over 30 minutes, and they came from over 300 yards away to lay the smack down on it.
Then, while they were doing their thing, I suddenly felt a large thump and heard same as something jumped onto the split rail fence I was sitting against. Straining my eyes tot he left to see it, I could see that it wasn't a turkey, but a groundhog (AKA stinking dirt pig!!!) that had jumped onto the fence less than 10 feet from me!! He stayed there for about 10 minutes. I swear I actually saw him stick his tongue out at me!!! Again, see pics.
Well, after all of this action slowed down, around 7:20 or so, I heard a gobble from at least 300-400 yards down across the field. I immediately started to yelp at it, and was abruptly cut-off by another gobble!!! Great I thought, sit back and see what happens. Well, it didn't take long for not one, but three toms to enter the field at the opposite end. I could immediately see through the Bushnell binos that one had a nice paintbrush of a beard, while the other 2 were jakes. The tom gobbled again, which I responded to with some soft yelps and clucks on the mouth call. They started my way immediately, but slowly, picking there way along, eating corn as they came. At about 125 yards, the tom went into strut, and remained that way. At 83 yards (I love using my rangefinder), the hens that were in the scrub brush off to my right started to yelp loudly, and the two jakes started to head for them. The tom also started to slowly strut toward the bush, so I again yelped softly at him, followed by some soft purrs, and I guess he thought the lone hen in the open was the one for him!!! He then continued on like he was on a string. He was literally vibrating the whole way in, strutting constantly, until he was right beside the decoy at 20 yards, facing me.
I had the crosshairs on the Parker Tornado crossbow welded to the centre of his chest at this point. At the shot, which took him right beside the beard, he did a back flip, and to my surprise, he started running toward the bush!!! Fortunately though, he made it less than 10 yards before doing a front flip and expiring. The Redhot arrow and Hammerhead broadhead were sticking out right beside his other exit hole!!
This was the most exciting turkey hunt I ever had (other than when my son shot his first one with a bow, which will always be my favourite!!), to watch him come all of the way across the field, and to have competed against the real hens and won, and to have shot my biggest longbeard of ten with a bow so far. Funny thing is, after taking pics of all the other critters around me that morning, I never took ONE of him coming across the field. I guess I was just too excited and focused on getting him to try. Oh well, we took lots afterward.
He had a 9" beard, spurs of just under an inch, and weighed almost 19 pounds. An absolutely beautiful bird, and I am really happy with him.