Never give up. Just keep putting one leg in front of the other. Persistence leads to perseverance. Archery hunting is a roller coaster. A sweet ride filled with highs and lows, both mentally and physically. Introducing a big strutting tom to one of your arrows can be one hell of a bumpy ride. Nonetheless, a ride worth taking.
My archery turkey season has most definitely been a grind. Misses, getting busted, and just a couple more steps. Hunting out of blinds, no blinds, and even a tree stand or two. Sitting and running and gunning. You must become creative in your tactics. Opportunity does not create itself.
I had been hard at it for three weeks until the morning of all mornings unfolded. The morning prior I had witnessed four mature toms pass by the outside corner of a small pasture. I knew where one of them was roosting and moved in a blind to that very same corner. Elegantly tucked under a lone small maple tight in the corner I had a fence to contend with. My shooting windows needed to be adjusted low in order to shoot through the spacing in the fence. I brushed my new ambush home in and off I went hoping the tom would return to his previous roost.
The steady morning breeze kept the birds quiet. My target tom did however sound off just a few gobbles that filled me with hope. Time passed, the sun rose, and his gobbles sounded farther. I was pressed tight to one side of the blind which enabled me to watch behind me. This is the direction I was certain a bird would come from. Oh how wrong I was.
The sound of a soft yelped tickled my ear drums. She came out of nowhere in the opposite direction of coarse. I remained motionless. She hung out with my strutter and hen decoy which were placed at about 14 yards from the blind. Movement caught my eye only to reveal three more hens coming in to visit. They were not alone. A big tom was close behind in all his glorious struttiness.
I really am sitting in the worst position and spot in the blind for this to happen. Why would I expect anything else, right? He is fully committed and coming in, no question. I have four hens ten to fifteen yards in front of me and he's closing in from the right. I'm afraid to blink at this point with all those googly eyes whipping around. I go for broke and slide of my chair and slowly slide to the back of the blind, where I belong. I'm in position and ready. But wait, I have another decision to make. Do I film this, of do I shoot him? I need to commit myself to one or the other at this point. I opted to keep my movements to a minimum and shoot him!
It all happened so fast, these decisions were made in a millisecond, you know how it goes. I drew low and raised my pins. The tom went to half strut and proceeded to go Mike Tyson on my decoy. He ripped the fan off my decoy and jumped on top of it. I couldn't resist, I deployed a meat missile that turned his beat down into a dirt nap. He tried to escape but only made it 40 yards before giving in. The hens were unfazed and slowly fed off the field.
A mature tom comes in with four hens, doesn't make a peep all morning, puts on a show destroying my decoy, and eats an arrow from atop my decoy. Honestly, I've been very fortunate to have killed many nice toms, but this by far was the best turkey hunt I've ever had. The only thing that could have made it better would have been to capture it all on film. Throughout my journey of self filming my own adventures, I've missed some pretty amazing moments in my life. My Mother has always shed some light on why I've missed capturing some of these moments on film. She says some of these really special moments are meant to be just between me and the critter. So that I have my own little personal moments that are special and only mine. I guess we all need those. Without her, my family, and my friends to keep me grounded and on task, I would not in any way be able to do what I do. This turkey is dedicated to all of you who push me, who fuel my passion, and for all of you who inspire me. The wilderness is good to me and I find peace in that. Never give up.
22 1/2 Pounds
1 1/8" Spurs
10 1/2" Beard