As I started writing this story, I realized that a lot of my hunting stories involve my friend Chris. Never really thought about it, but I guess he and I do hunt together a lot. This is a good thing. Everyone should have a good hunting buddy with whom to share their hunting adventures.
This story begins the opening day of the spring shotgun turkey season. Even though it was shotgun season, Chris and I decided to get a turkey with our bows. The trip to Chris’ hunting location was made in the dark. We had to set up before sunrise if we wanted to get the turkey’s coming off their roosts. There is no greater hunting experience than to see the sunrise while serenaded by the thunder coming from toms in their roosts.
We both have taken turkeys before, but not with a bow. I enjoy hunting with the rifle or shotgun, but I also like to use my bow whenever I can. I get a certain satisfaction of overcoming the limitations of a bow and arrow to successfully take game.
We set up my blind on the edge of the timber facing a pasture and we put out a hen and jake decoy to lure the turkeys into range. Once in the blind, I nocked an arrow onto my new black Mathews Z7. This would be the first time that I would hunt with it.
Sunrise came with the gobbles of the toms behind us in the trees. Chris began calling and it was like Simon-Says. Chris would call and they would gobble back. It was loud and thick with toms trying to woo the hen that Chris was imitating. I thought for sure we’d see the toms soon, but it wasn’t to be.
The turkeys were roosted right behind us, but there was a small creek there too and they had roosted on the other side and didn’t want to cross to get to us, no matter how attractive Chris’ hen sounded. So, at about nine o’clock, we decided to pick up our shot guns and do a little running and gunning to see if we could score on a tom.
We went about a half-mile and spotted a tom in the pasture about three football fields away from us. It was now time for what I consider the fun part – down on our hands and knees trying to stalk up on the bird. We would crawl and then Chris would call to the tom. You could tell he was interested by the way he fanned his tail and strutted, but he was playing hard to get. It was as if he was saying, “You want me, you come get me.”
We continued alternating calling and crawling until our cover ran out. We were close, but still too far from him. The last bit of cover was a shrub tree and we set up behind it with the plan to try to get the tom to come just a little closer. It just wasn’t to be and after about 15 minutes the tom grew tired of the hen that wouldn’t come to him and he walked off.
We decided to head back to the blind and I don’t know why, but we didn’t try to be very stealthy; in fact we were downright noisy chatting with one another as we walked by our blind. This, of course, was stupid and we alerted a flock of turkeys that were right behind our blind in the timber. We could only watch as they trotted off.
Chris asked me if I still wanted to get in the blind and try calling to get them back. I didn’t have anywhere to be so I agreed. We got into the blind and I put down my shotgun and again picked up my bow. Chris kept his shotgun and began calling. To our surprise, we heard the unmistakable sound of toms calling back to us. They were close and moving toward us. No way!
Chris said, “You shoot first then I’ll shoot.” The plan made sense since I was using the bow and he the shotgun. I played the shot in my mind as I waited for the turkeys to come into sight and give me a shot opportunity. There were four toms all puffed up moving directly toward the blind. When they were about twenty yards away, Chris implored me to shoot. I told him I couldn’t because I didn’t have a shot. I was sitting on the right of the blind and he on the left. Since the toms were coming from the right, the blind’s wall blocked me from shooting. From Chris’ position he could see the turkeys better and from the view he thought I should be able to shoot but I couldn’t. So we waited for what seemed to be an eternity while it was only probably a couple of minutes for the turkeys to move in front of the blind.
There were two turkeys head to tail at ten yards in front of the blind and two turkeys head to tail at fifteen yards. I drew back and squeezed my trigger on the release and let loose an arrow at the closer lead turkey. Perfect shot and the turkey just dropped in its tracks. Immediately, the rapport of the shotgun sound, “Bam,” and then again, “Bam.” Two shots and the turkey was still standing. Finally, one more shot and the turkey was down.
We scored a double which was way cool. Not sure why Chris missed, something was uttered about me shooting the wrong turkey, but it didn’t matter. We both got a bird and now it was time for photos and handshakes. It is always rewarding to take a turkey, but this was especially rewarding because it was my first archery bird and I did it with my friend who also scored on a bird. It was a great ride home with our two birds in tow.