Carbon Express Arrows
UP FOR A NEW CHALLENGE
Turkey
Contributors to this thread:
Paul@thefort 03-Apr-16
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From: Paul@thefort
03-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Last year I killed three toms out of the blind and that made a total of 43 over the years. I have killed a couple free style without a blind but not with the recurve bow.

SO, starting tomorrow, heading for Nebraska, I will use a gilly suit, my stick and a couple of decks.

Pictured is my gilly suit and if it is too warm I will try my ASAT leafy suit.

Up for the new challenge? Well time will till.

I will report back at the end of the trip.

my best, Paul

From: Beav
03-Apr-16
Looking forward to the report.

From: Paul@thefort
03-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

03-Apr-16
Get 'em Paul! Good luck and God Bless

From: Ermine
03-Apr-16
Good luck! Look forward to success pics

From: Drahthaar
03-Apr-16
The main draw back I see is with your bow string hitting your suit, I guess you have something on your bow arm, can't see. good luck and keep us posted. Forrest

From: Julius K
03-Apr-16
That will be a challenge, best of luck!

From: Bou'bound
03-Apr-16
Paul I bet ou nail one. Good luck.

From: Brotsky
03-Apr-16
Best of luck Paul! Look forward to seeing your results!

From: HUNT MAN
03-Apr-16
Looks like you are ready. Best of luck. Drive safe. Hunt

From: trublucolo
03-Apr-16
You look like a 'squatch in that top pic....good luck :-)

From: sitO
03-Apr-16
That's a well manicured "hide" in the first pic Paul! I'm betting on you!

I'm in the Pine Ridge forest near Chadron now, birds are still bunched up. Vocal early and some during the day yesterday, but following hens. Horribly windy today and haven't heard a gobble since fly down. Get-r-dun bud!

From: Jack Harris
03-Apr-16
Paul that pic is freakin' AWESOME... Good luck

From: Paul@thefort
03-Apr-16
Forest, I thought of that before while practicing and I trimmed way any string that may catch the string.

good catch you had so thanks. Paul

From: Jaquomo
03-Apr-16
Forget the bow - just wave your arms when they're close and scare them to death!

Flocks here in E Central NE are just starting to break up. Still not a lot of gobbling but you should be hitting it just right. Keep us posted on how the Monster Suit works!

From: Candor
03-Apr-16
Good luck. That is embracing bow hunting for turkeys.

From: Trophy8
03-Apr-16
Best of luck Paul!

From: jims
03-Apr-16
Good luck Paul!

From: drycreek
03-Apr-16
Good luck !

From: midwest
03-Apr-16
I have confidence you'll get it done, Paul. Good luck and have fun!

From: Mark Watkins
03-Apr-16
Way to be continually willing to try new tactics Paul....I'm sure when you look back many of them have led to your success over the years!

We look forward as always to the stories!

Mark

From: trkyslr
03-Apr-16
Awesome Paul... Looking forward to your natural hunt stories.

From: ElkNut1
03-Apr-16
Paul, I will stay tuned for sure, I'd say good luck, but you really don't need it. You know how to make your own luck! Go getem! (grin)

ElkNut1

03-Apr-16
Good luck, Paul. Headed east on Friday.

From: Mad_Angler
03-Apr-16
Paul, did you see the video of the guy in a gilley suit laying next to his decoy. He was going to grab it with his hands. Now there's a challenge...

Good luck and i look foreard to the report.

From: Huntcell
04-Apr-16
That's out of the blind thinking for sure) >>>>-------->

04-Apr-16
Best of luck Paul! I'm headed to Kansas as I speak to try the same!

From: Paul@thefort
04-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Good luck everyone as I am out of here and heading EAST to KILL a TOM with the STICK and a GILY and two DECs and at CLOSE RANGE.

My best, Paul

PS, I am leaving the compound bow at home.

From: otcWill
04-Apr-16
Get em buddy!

From: OFFHNTN
04-Apr-16
Holy smokes you set your decoys close Paul!!! :) Good luck!

From: Wayniac
04-Apr-16
Good luck !

Looks like you had some success with the ASAT as well! Nice

From: steve
04-Apr-16

steve's embedded Photo
steve's embedded Photo
look what showed up at my spot .LOL

From: Duke
04-Apr-16
Good luck, Paul. Always an enjoyment reading your posts.

Great call in the gilly! I've tossed around the idea a few times as well with the recurve, but haven't yet done it. What are you doing on your left arm to eliminate all obstructions from the suit?

Did you get the peacock to go into strut, Steve?

From: brianhood
04-Apr-16
Best of luck paul.

From: Cazador
04-Apr-16
You got to love the Spanish language.

Turkey = Pavo

Peacock = Pavo Real

Have fun Paul.

From: longbeard
06-Apr-16
Be careful Paul, that disguise looks dangerous, you might get shot...LOL I couldn't resist :)

From: BOWNUT@WORK
07-Apr-16
Go get em Paul.

From: JFP
07-Apr-16
Good Luck!

From: Brian M.
07-Apr-16

Brian M. 's embedded Photo
Brian M. 's embedded Photo
I'm with ya, Paul. Good luck.

From: t-roy
07-Apr-16
Safe travels & best wishes for ya Paul!

Look forward to the pics!

From: Paul@thefort
09-Apr-16
OK I am back after a 5 day hunt in Nebraska on a SWA.

VERY INTERESTING FOR SURE AND SURELY A NEW CHALLENGE

I learned a lot.

Paul

From: Paul@thefort
09-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
I arrived at the hunting location at 2 pm after driving 5 hours from Ft. Collins.

The first agenda was to see if there were any turkeys around so I drove to a high bluff for an observation of the surrounding creek bottom and agriculture fields.

From here I can see up and down the creek for a mile and on a calm day hear a tom gobble.

From: Paul@thefort
09-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
After a half hour of searching with the 10x bionoculars , I thought I saw movement along a wood line of tall cottonwood trees.

From: Paul@thefort
09-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
I switched over to the spotting scope. Bingo!! a strutting tom with two hens.

Nothing like the real deal to start the first day.

After an hour the birds move west along the tree line and disappeared.

I was time to make a move and get ready for the hunt.

From: Paul@thefort
09-Apr-16
After parking the truck and dressing in my ASAT suit (too warm for the gilly) I picked up the stick and decoys and headed for an small island of trees in the middle of a green, winter wheat field which was located in between where I had parked and where I had last seen the turkeys.I had killed a tom from this island a few years before so I knew the area well.

Place the decoys out and carved out a blind in the small pine trees. The wait was on.

An hour later no sight or sound of turkeys. 4pm

I stood up and looked to the far end of the field 500 yards way and through the cottonwood tree line with the 10x. Movement.

From: Paul@thefort
09-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Follow pictures for what I found at the end of the field. Nothing better for sigh that the real live thing. I moved up to a new location with camera in hand and got within 100 yards undetected.

The challenge was on.

From: Paul@thefort
09-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

From: Paul@thefort
09-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

From: Paul@thefort
09-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

From: Paul@thefort
09-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
The sun was about to set when 6 WTs showed up to feed among the turkeys.

From: Paul@thefort
09-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

From: Paul@thefort
09-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

From: Paul@thefort
09-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
As the sun set lower, I noticed some of the mature hens starting to file out and down the middle of the wheat field. Seemed like they were heading down to the opposite end of the field, where I had observed the first tom. I know there were a few good roosting trees at that end, and that is exactly where they were heading with the five toms in tow.

From: Paul@thefort
09-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
I watched them troop past, all 19 hens/polts and 5 toms heading to roost. They would arrive at the roosting trees just at the sun set and up they would fly up and out of danger from the night critters.

After they flew up, and two hundred yards from the roost was this pine tree thicket along the edge of the field, I thought a great place to ambush a tom in the morning.

I cleared out a hiding spot and shooting lane and left my seat and decoys there for the morning hunt.

Tomorrow should be a interesting day.

LITTLE DID I KNOW JUST HOW INTERESTING OF A DAY IT WOULD BE.

My best, Paul

From: Paul@thefort
09-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Day two, the next morning with turkeys on the roost.

From: Paul@thefort
09-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

From: Paul@thefort
09-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
This tom started to gobble and fan out before flying down.

From: Paul@thefort
09-Apr-16
The anticipation was mounting in my body. Now remember I killed three toms in two states last year and in just 5 days of hunting, and the third one was with the stick so my confidence level was high for this morning.

I felt the stick in my hand and the fingers tight on the string.

"come on, come on, come on."

I first tom hit the ground followed by a few others. Now some more hens. Now all of the toms were on the ground and in strut showing, " I am bigger and more grand than the others". What a show of nature in its finest.

I peered through the branches of my hid and noticed a single tom heading my way as he had now spotted the decoys. He stopped at 30 yards, looked my way and then turned around and headed back.

From: Paul@thefort
09-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
That single tom turned back to join the others.

"OH, come on!!" I said under my breath.

From: midwest
09-Apr-16
This is great!

From: Paul@thefort
09-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Wait, he just joined another tom with hens and they will be out front in a few minutes.

A few light hen yelps got the tom's attention. Their heads turned in my direction and they headed my way leaving their hens behind.

They were closing in-- 20 yards, 15 yards, and how they were at the jake decoy only 10 yards away and standing side by side within inches of the decoy.

My hands tightened on the recurve bow and string and I slowly brought it up to shooting position. The tension on the string felt good and my muscles were anticipating the draw cycle.

Quite a spectacle, watching two wild critters doing their thing and up close and personal.

I quickly thought back to last year's elk season and on the very first evening I had a bull elk at 40 yards. A slam dunk for sure.

As then and as now, the arrow left the string and sliced through the cool early morning air! Hunt over???

From: LUNG$HOT
09-Apr-16
"Hunt over???"

C'mon Paul bring it on! Dam cliffhangers...;) Sounds like you had a great time. Cant wait to hear the rest.

From: Paul@thefort
09-Apr-16
Yep, the arrow flew true alright, but into the dirt behind the tom, just skimming its back feathers.

We have all been there. I hung my head, shaking it side to side a few times and then uttered something under my breath.

The word was not Dam or O'gee!

The toms putted a few times and headed back to the hens really unaware that something was trying to kill them. A half hours later all of the turkeys had cleared the field and it was now 9am.

Like my elk hunt last year, the arrow hit a small unseen limb and deflected away from the target.

Slam Dunks have a way of turning into Dumb Dunks.

Well the day was young so the story continues.

From: Boris
09-Apr-16
Guess we have to wait for next season to find out what happened

From: Paul@thefort
09-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
At 10 am I hear a gobble at the west end of the field, the same end all of the turkeys left.

There was something about this gobble that sounded like he was searching for something in particular. Maybe a few hens he had lost track of.

I answered back with a raspy hen cackle on my box call. He appeared at the edge of the thicket, red head very visible and looking in my way. A few more calls got him coming and he was closing the 150 yards quickly.

With a few seconds he was at the jake decoy with fire in his eyes. The meaning was he wanted to killed this jake. He jived this way and that doing a complete 360 around the decoys but moving all of the time. He never did go into a strut posture and calm down.

I was waiting for a shot opportunity if he calmed down. He was now getting nervous and at any second he might leave. When I thought I had a opportunity, I partly drew back the bow and tried to focus.

He saw some movement, putted and was away!!!!!!!!!!!!all before I could shoot.

Another hung head and MORE uttered words.

From: Paul@thefort
09-Apr-16
Well, as some say, " it ain't over until the fat lady sings"

From: Bowboy
09-Apr-16
Keep it coming Paul!

From: Paul@thefort
09-Apr-16
There is no doubt that the larger winter flocks are broken up and the toms are/or in the process of being hened up.

Harder to call in for sure.

A peanut butter with C-raisin sandwich helped my mental attitude. The afternoon sit would be a long one as I forgot any reading materials. Maybe a short nap would do.

Heavy winds up to 30 mph gusts howled though the tall cottonwood trees, sounding almost like a fright train.

Every 15 minutes I would give out a series of hen yelps on the box call, just to let any nearby toms know, a hen was in the area with hot pants on.

From: Paul@thefort
09-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Between 11 am and 3:30 PM I must have hen yelped on the box call 18 different times with no response.

The wind was still blowing hard. To my right I had a blind spot to the field ahead and when I stood up to see in that area, this tom and two hens were feeding 60 yards away.

I quickly sat down and gathered my wits. "Ok, Paul, take your time and make it happen this time."

I'm ready. Two yelps on the call gets his attention. He is coming. Looks like another tom with fire in his eyes. Man, does he look mean! Neck outstretched, and coming at a fast pace now. Another dancer. Would not settle down to allow for a good shot.

I slowly drew back this time, being very careful. Pick a spot. Hell, the whole tom looked like the spot at 10 yards.

He is getting very agitated and seems to be on high alert.

I draw back. Putt,putt, putt, he is gone without me getting off a shot.

Hard to tell what a turkey sees but I am now VERY convinced that not only do they have the normal two eyes but at least 6 other eyes well placed to see EVERYTHING. I mean everything!!!!

Day two comes to an end without any more action. Four toms in the decoys at 10 yards and no kill yet. Actually one of the best action packed days I have had so no complaints.

Another day ahead tomorrow, as I head back to my truck to eat and sleep. 5 am comes early.

09-Apr-16
Great story telling. I've seen you shoot, the turkeys are in trouble!

From: Paul@thefort
09-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Ok, Day 3 of the challenge.

I did leave one "crutch" at home, my compound bow but I did bring along another, my pop up blind.

The forecast was for high winds in the afternoon so I set it up on the upwind side of the stubble wheat field and at the end I had been seeing the turkeys.

I went to the nearby town and had breakfast and then returned to the field around 2:30pm.. Did not hear or observe any turkeys on the way in.

At 4 pm I hear a few hen sound behind me and along the creek. Shortly these two hen come out of the thicket to investigate the sounds and decoys.

These were the last I would see or hear the rest of the set.

From: Paul@thefort
09-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
a little later, this deer also investigated the decoys until it got down wind. Gone.

Another day in the turkey woods!

From: Paul@thefort
09-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Day 4, Thursday. I have been concentrating on this small area as it holds most of the turkeys but by Friday or Saturday, when the weekend hunters show up. I am thinking about heading home.

As SWAs, they can only handle so much hunting pressure and then the turkeys start to wise up.

I headed back to the pop up blind but around 8, I decided to move to the other end of the field where I had heard a tom gobble prior to fly down and where I had seen the birds roost Monday evening.

I had just set up the blind when a gobble was heard and also a few hen yelps behind me and near the creek . I had high hopes but that was it until 11 am when I spied this tom and two hens on the opposite side of the field and they had no interest in coming to my side.

From: Paul@thefort
09-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
PM, time to take a nap.

2 pm I crawled out of the blind and stepped out front to see down the field edge to my right.

Almost too far out as there was the whole flock at the other end and guess what? Right where I had the blind this morning for a couple of hours.

They might move this way. Two hours later, here they come but all of a sudden, they went on alert, flew and cleared the field. Out they came a few minutes later and fed for 15 minutes, and then on alert again and again, they cleared the field but to return again, this time closer.

A few hen sound aroused the interest of two hens and one tom.

Pictured the flock getting closer.

From: Paul@thefort
09-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Now the single tom and the two hens had spied the decoys and were within 20 yards of the blind.

Camera in one hand and bow in the other.

They were on edge for sure and the hens stopped short but the tom crept in like walking on age shells and man was he tense.

I had blackened out the windows only leaving a one sq foot hole to shoot through.

A quick picture at 12 yards.

From: Paul@thefort
09-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
He was only at the decoy for a mili-second and was gone. No time to draw.

More head shaking and mumbling from this hunter.

Picture of him heading out.

From: Paul@thefort
09-Apr-16
The rest of the flock went out the other end as the sun set in the West. Tomorrow another day.

From: Paul@thefort
09-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Friday, day 5 of the challenge.

I took down the blind the night before so now it was the gilly suit, stick and decoys but only for an afternoon hunt.

I decided to truck around a bit to cover the other areas as to their potential. I did see a two toms and hens but decided to take it easy and only hunt the afternoon. A few other hunter were showing up and the Friday afternoon drive bys.

I did spy this turkey of sorts.

From: Paul@thefort
09-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Ok, the last afternoon of the hunt. I hoped the turkeys would show up around 4 pm as they came off of the surrounding wide open hillsides. This seemed to be their pattern.

I found a good hid and set up for the action to happen.

Right time--right spot? hard to tell.

From: Paul@thefort
09-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

From: Paul@thefort
09-Apr-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
From a turkey's view point. Everything looks ok.

From: Paul@thefort
09-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
But looks can change when these two jakes show up an hour later and walked right into the decoy setup at ten yards.

I contemplated shooting the biggest one and my handed tightened on the bow and string.

Right there. Should I or not. They are getting nervous.

I make a small move to draw and they are gone, just like a few of the others. How did they see my movement????

From: drycreek
09-Apr-16
Will he, or won't he ? My money's on Paul !

From: Drahthaar
09-Apr-16
Paul, sounds like a fun hunt, lots of action, maybe frustration to go along with it. Forrest

From: Paul@thefort
09-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Later I walked out in front of the "perfect" blind and turned back to see what, if anything, the turkeys might has seen.

Well, here is the evidence. I was back lit. Yep, the late afternoon sun shinning on that old bark-less log created a huge white spot,

and any movement I made was highly magnified.

If I return next week I will cover that area of the log with pine limbs to darken up the back ground.

Well, if one is not living, they are not learning and nature has a tendency to teach one in many ways.

From: Paul@thefort
09-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
One thing for sure, the sun will always rise and better yet over a roost tree full of toms and hens.

An interesting Journey for some and it was surely for me.

No failures, just more learned experiences. I will be back and just maybe next week with a gilly, stick and decoys.

My best, Paul

From: drycreek
09-Apr-16
Good luck on your return trip Paul !

From: HUNT MAN
09-Apr-16
That was great thank you for posting . Good luck on your return trip. Hunt

From: midwest
09-Apr-16
Looking forward to the next chapter, Paul! Thanks for sharing the story and pics.

From: willliamtell
10-Apr-16
Love that kinda blurry shot of the tom looking left - turkey porn? Art? Ask the supreme court?

From: trkyslr
10-Apr-16
Paul good stuff and nice pics... Hope you keep at it with suit.. Good luck!

From: Julius K
10-Apr-16
Keep after them Paul. I'm looking forward to the rest, and good luck.

From: Paul@thefort
10-Apr-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
"are you looking at me?" OK, what movie did that phrase come from?

From: Paul@thefort
10-Apr-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

From: Paul@thefort
10-Apr-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

From: Dan Mallia
10-Apr-16
Nice story, good luck next time.

From: Drahthaar
10-Apr-16
Paul, thanks for taking us along on an Awesome journey. looking at your last picture of you in the gilly suit, your face is really white, might try some burnt cork or face paint, just saying. Forrest

From: Ermine
10-Apr-16
Nice Paul! Thanks for sharing!

I would put money down that you will get it done on the next trip!

From: stick33
10-Apr-16
Looks like a great trip. Lots of opportunities is all you can hope for when you start restricting yourself. When it finally comes together, all the other kills will pale in comparison. I wish you best of luck on the next adventure!

From: Paul@thefort
10-Apr-16
Hey Forest, good idea. When I started to bow hunt for deer in 1960 the only "face paint" then was burnt cork,ie, just like Fred Bear.

I would like to get behind the turkey's eyes, just to see what they see. I know one thing, they never say to them selves, " wait, what was that!"

my best, Paul

From: midwest
10-Apr-16

midwest's embedded Photo
midwest's embedded Photo
"You talkin to me?"

Robert De Niro....Taxi Driver

From: Paul@thefort
10-Apr-16
Nick, you got it right even though I had the wrong phrase.

Hell of a movie back then.

Paul

From: Butternut40
10-Apr-16
Paul you got me in trouble this morning. My wife told me to get off the pot and bowsite. We're late for church. LOL Great story. Next time.

From: Paul@thefort
10-Apr-16
Dale, give your wife a hug for me. It may help your situation some.

Church? Yep, prayers also help. You know what they say about a "happy wife".

My best, Paul

From: cobra
10-Apr-16
Great thread outstanding photos!!

From: Drahthaar
10-Apr-16
Paul, you keep on you are going to tell our age. I am like you it is amazing what a turkey can see, I think they have eyes in the back of their head. Forrest

From: Greg Kush
10-Apr-16
Great write-up, Paul. Your description of how you got busted repeatedly while trying to draw the recurve without a blind is something I can relate to since I hunt with a stick and no blind. It can be quite frustrating, but it also makes it that much more enjoyable when you are able to make it happen. :-)

From: Beav
10-Apr-16
Paul thanks for sharing and I am looking forward to chapter 2.

From: Scoot
10-Apr-16
Solid effort Paul! Good for you for trying something new and different. I hope you had fun.

From: Paul@thefort
10-Apr-16
Greg, thanks for the encouragement. I knew it might be a challenge and how sweet it will be to connect.

Yes, I will be heading out tomorrow for the rest of the week.

Thanks all for the replies.

my best, Paul

From: brianhood
10-Apr-16
Good luck paul. Shoot straight.

From: Boris
10-Apr-16
Hey Paul, the Ohio turkey season starts April 18th. And Penna. starts April 30th. Talked to the landowner were I hunt n Ohio. He said that he is not leasing his land out like he was thinking. He has about 300 acres that I hunt. The neighbor has about 700-750 acres that nobody hunts on but me. I will be out on the 18th. An then maybe on the 30th in Pa.

From: elkstabber
11-Apr-16
Thanks for sharing. I'd like to hear more about your thoughts/experiences with the Ghillie suit itself, if you have the time. Thanks!

From: Paul@thefort
11-Apr-16
Curt, I will reflect on the ghillie suit when I return. Just heading out the door now for phase 2 of the Challenge.

my best, Paul

From: Brotsky
11-Apr-16
Great hunt Paul even though it didn't end with a kill. Awesome pictures and story telling as always. Best of luck to you if you return! Thanks for sharing it with us!

From: Paul@thefort
16-Apr-16
SOMETIMES YOU CAN NOT OUT-FOX THE FOX..and in this case a wild tom turkey! If you expect to see a dead tom on this phase of the hunt, it did not happen.

As most of you that have been following along with my Challenge know that I had a lot of action last week when I had 5 different toms in the decoys at 10 yards in the first two days.

The hunt would have been over the very first hour of the very first morning when two toms were within inches of the jake decoy and 10 yards from my broadhead tip, BUT I MISSED THE CHIP SHOT.

Like many of you I hate to have an unfilled tag in my pocket so I headed back to Nebraska this last Monday to see if I could punch my tag.

I arrived at 2 pm at the very field on the SWA I had hunted the week before but there was a blind set up in the very spot I wanted to hunt. I drove down the road a bit and set up an ambush along creek but saw or heard nothing that afternoon or evening.

Just before dark and back in the truck I drove up the road farther and spotted a mature tom and a few hens crossing the open grassland and heading for their roost area. A few goobles later as they flew up, then it was dark. I gathered up my blind and decoys and set them up in the dark along a brush line hoping to lure them in, in the morning.

From: Paul@thefort
16-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
The morning light brought with it the sound of a tom from the same area I had seen it retreat to the evening before. There were even some weak gobbles from behind me a few hundred yards. At fly down this tom and his contingent of hens showed up 500 yards to my right.

From: Paul@thefort
16-Apr-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
This wt showed up and was curious about the blind and decoys.

From: Paul@thefort
16-Apr-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Later they crossed out front but still 100 yards away

From: Paul@thefort
16-Apr-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
The weak gobble I had heard in the morning turned out to be these jakes at 60 yards but they wanted no part in my setup.

From: Paul@thefort
16-Apr-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Some calling brought the mature tom within 50 yards but once he scanned the situation, he turned and joined his girls.

He already had a party going on so why join another one!

From: Paul@thefort
16-Apr-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
And then they circled around out front and then to my far right.

From: Paul@thefort
16-Apr-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

From: Paul@thefort
16-Apr-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
They disappeared to my far right. Time to leave the area as I just know, these turkeys have seen it all as they have been hunted in the previous weeks.

A hour later I am heading 100 miles farther east to where I has killed the majority of my Nebraska turkeys.

From: Paul@thefort
16-Apr-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
I set up where I have killed a few toms in the past that evening as I had heard a few birds across the creek.

From: Paul@thefort
16-Apr-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
After competing with the hen flock for two hours the next morning, I finely lured this tom across the creek but he stayed in the trees just 50 yards away and would not advance.

From: Paul@thefort
16-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
And after ten minutes, he finely drifted back to his ladies.

I took a break for lunch returning a 1 pm and stayed until dark with not action.

At fly up time, a tom roosted 300 yards behind me.

I will try the gilly suit in the morning.

From: Paul@thefort
16-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
O'dark thirty and light is just breaking. I am 50 yards from this tom's roost tree.

More morning light, he gobbles a few times and flies down and across the creek. This creek is 4 ft deep so no chance to wade and follow.

From: Paul@thefort
16-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
I move up to the creek and find a good hiding area and try to call a tom near.

Later I hear wing beats and his hen lands just above me.

I am stuck for a while but later decide to move farther away.

From: Paul@thefort
16-Apr-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
I continue to call off and on from my new location butt hen notice his movement close by.

From: Paul@thefort
16-Apr-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
This mule deer buck was attracted by my calling and came closer.

From: Paul@thefort
16-Apr-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
and then up to 12 feet away until he smelled me; he was gone.

From: Paul@thefort
16-Apr-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Wednesday afternoon, Ok, can not cross the creek so I need to drive around to the other side and to a new set up with the blind. I am switching back and forth with the gilly suit and then the blind.

Crunch time!

Drove to town for lunch and spoke with some other hunters that had seen birds but they seemed to be henned up. And some of the single toms they had seen did not respond.

From: Paul@thefort
16-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Thursday, did some local scouting and then decided to hunt Friday morning and then head home. Saturday is the start of the shot gun season.

Friday morning found me at the blind. The wind is expected to howl to 35 mph and thunder and rain in the late afternoon.

I had a good book to read and only two more chapters to finish.

From: Paul@thefort
16-Apr-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
A few months ago, friend gave me a dozen 35 year old fiberglass arrows with Bear Razor Heads.

From: Paul@thefort
16-Apr-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

From: Paul@thefort
16-Apr-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Maybe Fred would bring me good luck this morning.

GRASPING FOR STRAWS!

From: Paul@thefort
16-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Well, it did not happen in Nebraska this year but I will be back to deer hunt this fall.

Interesting how one year it all goes good and you seem like a turkey bow master :). and then other years, the plan never seems to go the way you want it no matter how hard you try. We have all been there, for turkeys, deer,,elk, etc.

I truly believe bow hunting or any type of hunting is a passion of sorts and it brings our soul back to it's original roots, as hunters and gathers.

You got to love getting dirt under your finger nails!

From: Paul@thefort
16-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
As I turned for home when leaving the SWA, this tom crossed the highway in front of the truck.

I gave him a horn honk and a wave good by.

Maybe I will be up to the Challenge next year. One never knows for sure as we are only part time hunters and the animals were chase and full time wild critters. Unpredictable at times.

my best, Paul

PS, I have an unfilled Colorado Turkey tag.

From: wkochevar
16-Apr-16
Fill that CO tag Paul! Thanks for taking us along Kip

From: midwest
16-Apr-16
Thanks for the stories and pics, Paul....good luck in CO!

From: writer
16-Apr-16
Thanks for the ride, Paul.

I'm having "one of those" year's, too.

From: Paul@thefort
17-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Elkstabber, To answer your question concerning the use of the ghillie suit.

While it may hide you well it seems it is the movement of the body but more important, the movement of the recurve bow while drawing that got me busted. That first morning it was still dim light before the sun was up so I was in the dark shadows behind some pine limbs. Once the sun was up, any movement was more noticeable. Two toms did come in side by side so maybe they distracted each other from seeing me draw. The other times, only a single came in and they were on "pins and needles" when approaching the decoy and never did stop for a good shot.

I can see while using a compound bow that one has more time to draw, hold and then fire. Now so much with a recurve bow as most draw and fire all in one. I finely removed my arrows from my bow quiver to prevent the birds for seeing that movement of the feathers then I raised the bow.. Lots of small item to consider.

Camouflaging the bow is very important. I use some stick on leaf camo on the upper limbs. I do not believe on can just set out in the open, in the wood and let the ghillie suit hide you and be successful. One needs to consider a better hid behind some pines or better cover.

Another thought is to have a few trees or low shrubs in front where the decoys are so that a turkey has to go behind them, and then to allow the hunter to draw with out being seen.

Still a fun but challenging way to hunt outside of a blind but one still needs to conceal oneself the best they can and be out of the sun and in the shade and darkness.

I recently read an article concerning the eye sight of a turkey and they claim it is 3x 20/20 for 270 degrees and if they just turn their heads some, it is 360 degrees which they always seem to do.

Hunting elk or deer seem like an easy deal when hunting off the ground compared to the tom turkey.

Good question. The Challenge continues.

my best, Paul

From: Paul@thefort
11-May-16
Ok, May 11, and I am hoping to close the chapter on this story.

Last week I returned to Nebraska for the 3rd time in guest of the mighty tom turkey. As you have read I had had some close encounters this year with the recurve bow, some with the ghillie suit and two from the blind.

If you remember, last year it only took me 5 days to killed three toms in two states and the last one was with the stick. So far this year I have spent 15 days. Now, if I would have connected the very first day I hunted, A MISS at 10 yards, the story wound have long been told and a hero picture posted. So here I am and the only hunt available is to try to fill my Colorado tag starting this afternoon and for the next few days.

From: Paul@thefort
11-May-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
So lets "flash back" to last weeks hunt in Nebraska. I returned to the same SWA I had hunted in early April and spotted this tom and hens in the same field. He surely was henned up and the odds of calling him in was zero. If I had the compound bow I might have tried the HeadsUp decoy.

From: Paul@thefort
11-May-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
An hour later, I drove up the road and spotted the same birds I had seen the week before in the same field. I waited until dark and set up my blind where they had entered the woods going to roost. All set up for the next morning.

Well, they few down alright but stayed back in the woods all morning. This tom must have gobbled 100 times but would not leave his hens. At 11am. all was quite and he left his strutting area for parts unknown.

I decided to pack up and head farther east into Nebraska and to another SWA.

From: drycreek
11-May-16
Good luck on your last ditch stand Paul !

From: Paul@thefort
11-May-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Ok, so two hours later, and at last light, I find and hear a few toms going up to roost. Ghillie suit and stick in the morning so I truck camp near my and at 4:30 am I am heading out to set up withn 100 yards for two toms, and along fields edge.

Well the toms and hens fly across to the opposite side of the creek, four ft deep, right at first light. Damm! or something like that.''Back to the truck and then to drive around the 4 miles to see where they are.

I sun is just coming up and I spy them in an old cut corn field on private land but just adjacent to the SWA property line. I decide to drive across a cut old wheat field on the SWA property, (like a friendly farmer) to scare them back into the woods. Well that worked.

Back to the road and hiding the truck, after setting up the blind this time and decoys. I was back in the blind within 40 minutes and just in time as the turkeys started to filter back into the field where I had seen them.

This just might work as the hens came out first and then were heading my way to my calling. Under the fence they came, just 70 yards away, and then came to within 40 yards, looked at the decoy set up which included a jake and three hens, and proceeded to change directions and circle around behind me and into the woods. I continued to call and now hear the toms gobble and they also entered the field. Two toms together and they must have been twins because the stuck together and copied each other in every move and sound.

Under the fence they came and up to within 20 yards but to my blind side of the blind where I had no shooting opportunity to shoot with the recurve bow. They also circled around behind me and followed the same track as the hens did. I dropped the back window and had a brief shot opportunity at a moving tom but he got behind a tree before I could draw. Damm!, or something like that.

I just hate setting in the blind for many hours but I stuck it out unit dark. Heard a few gobbles, saw a few single hens but no more action near the blind.

From: Paul@thefort
11-May-16
The next morning and back in the the blind along the same field edge as the previous day I hear three toms within 200 yards. I expect two of them were the twins from the day before. Lots of hens also. As usual, they all fly down and within an hour all is quite. Damm or something like that.

I look to my right and across the fence to the private property and there were 4 jakes feeding. Well, an opportunity is a opportunity so I give out a few lonesome sexy hens calls and they head my way. Here they come, under the fence and to withing 25 yards, they stop. I had also place in the setup my tom strutter decoy. Nope, they were not coming any farther so they circled around behind me and through the woods.

Ok, OK, I am seeing a pattern here. All of these turkeys followed the same pattern and followed the same track through the woods. Time to make a new move.

From: Paul@thefort
11-May-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
So within 10 minutes, I had the blind relocated in the woods and within 15 yards of the track the turkeys seemed to be following. 9am and the wait is on.

From: Paul@thefort
11-May-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
THe twins had been gobbling off and on all morning and seemed to be getting closer within the next hour. I kept up the hen calling every ten minutes or so.

Here they both come. They fly across the creek and are now heading for my setup but are slight veering off to the left and out of my shot picture.

From: Paul@thefort
11-May-16
I get this picture as the drift to my right at 15 yards, no shot opportunity as they are on alert for sure.

I give out low volume hen sounds that turns both of them and now they are coming back to investigate the hen decoys they can see. I am sure they were looking for any other toms that may have been with the hen but were unseen to them.

Fifteen yard but moving through the trees and slightly down hill. Here comes one but moving. Small shot opportunity.

I shoot, I miss! Damm!, or something like that.

From: Paul@thefort
11-May-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
the picture

From: Paul@thefort
11-May-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Well, I am trying to be true to the Challenge by using the recurve bow. Using the ghillie suit to hid from the turkeys sharp vision, is the real challenge but I will trying later in the day.

I only see this one hen but hear a tom or two off in the distance . Damm!, or something like that.

From: Paul@thefort
11-May-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Ok, Friday morning and the last time to hunt in Nebraska. Back in the blind.

I can hear the one tom that has lots of hens to my right but he has never showed himself and has always headed the other way at fly down.

A little later from the private property field, the twins show up and are glued to two hens.

From: Paul@thefort
11-May-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

From: Paul@thefort
11-May-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

From: Paul@thefort
11-May-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
What make and year anyone?????

From: Paul@thefort
11-May-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Now they are at the other end of the field gobbling their heads off.

From: Paul@thefort
11-May-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
and to add insult to injury, they pass right by my truck as you can make out in the far right of the picture. The last picture of the two toms was taken in the clearing to the left.

From: Paul@thefort
11-May-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Well, maybe I should get another hobby like soap carving or under water basket weaving.

You know, these "unsuccessful" hunts are never a failure, but all of these experience just adds to the memories of great times in great places with bow and arrow in hand.

I was able to start a good book that keeps one busy during the slow times.

From: Paul@thefort
11-May-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
and with camera at hand, always looking for something to take a picture of. Pics to follow.

From: Paul@thefort
11-May-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

From: Paul@thefort
11-May-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

From: Paul@thefort
11-May-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

From: Paul@thefort
11-May-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

From: Paul@thefort
11-May-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

From: Paul@thefort
11-May-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
I left Nebraska because of the weekend but also knew a storm was brewing and headed right into it as I neared home.

From: Paul@thefort
11-May-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
We have all heard the saying," it is not over until the fat lady sings".

I have a Colorado turkey tag in my pocket and within the next hour, will be heading to eastern Colorado to hunt turkeys again.

As much as I would like to state. " it is not about the kill but more about the hunt"

I am taking both bows, ie, the recurve and the compound bow and will be using the blind.

Time to kill something! Hell yes! or something like that.

my best, Paul

From: Glunt@work
11-May-16
Nice write up Paul. 1948 Dodge Coronet is my best guess.

From: GotBowAz
11-May-16
1940 Buick.

Great write up and fantastic pic's Paul. Now its time to give one a dirt nap.

From: hyrax
11-May-16
Dodge grill with suicide rear doors and gullwing hood. You can see the cross beam where the front hood hinges were mounted.

1948 Dodge Custom Town Sedan.

Thanks for the stories Paul. I always enjoy them!

From: Tracker12
11-May-16
It can easily become frustrating when you move to the traditional gear alone let alone try to do it without a blind. When you do that you have to be prepared. I have a nice bird my first day out this year at 18 yards. He just would not stop long enough for me to take the shot with the recurve and eventually walked off:(

From: Butternut40
12-May-16
Go get em Paul. Great write up.

From: writer
12-May-16
Thanks Paul. Love the badger pic.

Really enjoyed the book. A buddy rowed for Washington and met some members of that team.

You're due in the turkey woods.

From: stoneman
12-May-16
Really enjoyed reading (learning from) each segment of your story, like being along for the adventure. Good Luck Paul!

From: Paul@thefort
12-May-16
Ok, I am back from turkey hunting.

As we all know , it can take 15 days or 15 minutes.

Story to follow ASAP.

my best, Paul

From: Butternut40
12-May-16
I'm guessing 15 minutes.

From: Paul@thefort
12-May-16
Just finished cleaning out the truck and putting the turkey gear away for the year. For the year? Yea, finely.

After hunting Nebraska for 15 days off and on with the recurve bow, I had 15 toms within 25 yards during that time period. Missed an easy chip shot the first day and last week had two desperation shots :(, Not good!

SO, with a Colorado tag in my pocket I headed to eastern Colorado and along the South Platte River. This is the same place I killed a good tom last year within an hour of setting up the blind at 12 noon.

I had high hopes of filling my tag but would not know until I got there and checked for sign and maybe hear a few toms flying up to roost at dark.

I wanted to kill a tom so I took both the compound and recurve bow plus the blind.

From: Paul@thefort
12-May-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
I had the blind and decoys set out by 4:30 pm and this location was only 100 yards from the spot I killed last year's tom. The South Platte River was starting to flood so there was some moving water right behind the blind in a small side channel two hundred yards from the main river.

From: Paul@thefort
12-May-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Good sign

From: Paul@thefort
12-May-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
My usual set up with jake over a hen and two other hens. I struggled with only using the hen decoys but decided to add the jake as it had worked well last year about this same time of the season.

From: Paul@thefort
12-May-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Near 7:20 these two hens walked by the decoys. By dark, I had not heard any gobbling and as I walking back in the dark to the truck, I yelped on my coyote yelper and no response from any toms was heard.

What gives??

From: Paul@thefort
12-May-16
4:30 am, o'dark thirty. Time to rise and shine.

I should be at the blind by 5 am.

At 6am I hear a distant gobble. I answer with my box call and some loud hen yelps.

Within 200 yards, a second but weak gobble. Sounds like a jake.

At this stage of my hunt, a jake is just fine.

From: Paul@thefort
12-May-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
The tom and I exchange calls and at fly down, he appears in plain sight but 150 yards away. My mouth call sends out some light hen calls. He gobbles back and seems to be getting closer but disappears behind a few trees.

Ten minutes later he is closer and coming but will be behind the blind and across the small water way.

From: Paul@thefort
12-May-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
He is close and now just across the water 10 yards away but behind the blind; I can see his eyes blinking. I do not dare to make any noise.

From: Paul@thefort
12-May-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
The last picture of the tom as he spies the jake/hen decoys and flys across the water, hits the shore on a dead run, and charges the decoys which are set up 10 yards away

My compound bow is on hand and ready.

From: Paul@thefort
12-May-16
I see he is not a jake based on his fanned out tail.

From: Paul@thefort
12-May-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
I settle the green single pin on his side and just above the hip. He is one foot from the decoys and pissed.

Arrow on its way! WACK!

From: Paul@thefort
12-May-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

From: Paul@thefort
12-May-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

From: Paul@thefort
12-May-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

From: Paul@thefort
12-May-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

From: Paul@thefort
12-May-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

From: Paul@thefort
12-May-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

From: Paul@thefort
12-May-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

From: Paul@thefort
12-May-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

From: Paul@thefort
12-May-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

From: Paul@thefort
12-May-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

From: Paul@thefort
12-May-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

From: Paul@thefort
12-May-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

From: Paul@thefort
12-May-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Golf cart make easy work hauling turkey blind and bow.

From: Paul@thefort
12-May-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
I consider this good shot placement on a tom. Just above the hip and through the gut pocket.

THE END, to a perfect season.

my best, Paul

From: cnelk
12-May-16
Holy Cow Paul!

Way to go!

PS. I cant wait 'til Im retired..... Ha! Ha!

From: buckfevered
12-May-16
Great "stick-to-it-ness" Paul. I'm sure that was a sweet end to all the effort you put in. By the way, that close up of the tom's red head looks meaner than he11, love it. Thanks for the write up, enjoyed following along just like following your goose hunts!

From: sitO
12-May-16
Great write up, pics, and bird Paul...thanks for taking us along again!

From: Jaquomo
12-May-16
Way to stay after it, buddy! Great season and thanks for taking us along!

From: HUNT MAN
12-May-16
That's what I am talking about. Congrats on a great season. Hunt

From: Genesis
13-May-16
.....and people moan about the lack of bowhunting opportunites

It's as simple as that.As epic a bowhunt as any in NA and nobody had to tap into their IRA to do it....

Thanks Paul

From: otcWill
13-May-16
You earned that one my friend! Thanks for the pics and story

From: CJE
13-May-16
Awesome Job, Thanks for taking the time to share this. Great Job!

From: Paul@thefort
13-May-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Ok, thanks for the kind words. That was fun.

So here is my dilemma. I have an unfilled Nebraska statewide turkey tag in my pocket.

I know were some turkeys are.

I have all next week to hunt if I want to.

My wife does not care if I go.

So my question to all of you great minds and hunters,

SHOULD I GO??????

my best, Paul

From: midwest
13-May-16
Oh, heck, yes!

It's a long time till next turkey season, Paul....go get 'em!

Congrats on the CO bird....great stuff as always.

From: Mark Watkins
13-May-16
Great thread as always Paul!!!

You are asking, so I'm casting my vote....you are headed to Nebraska!!!

I hope this is a democratic decision!

Good luck and keep this journey rolling!

Mark

From: Teeton
13-May-16
Thanks Paul, It was a great read.. I very much enjoy following along with you.

Ed

From: Paul@thefort
14-May-16
OK, so the committee voted 3 to 0 for me to go.

Keep tuned for the next chapter which will start on May 17th.

my best, Paul

From: Paul@thefort
20-May-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
I JUST LOVE WHEN A PLAN COMES TOGETHER. LEFT ON TUESDAY AFTERNOON FOR NEBRASKA AND WAS DONE BY SUNRISE ON THURSDAY MORNING.

Story to follow but I have to clean a bird.

my best, Paul

From: Paul@thefort
20-May-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
MAY 17TH. Headed back to Nebraska and to the same SWA I had missed the tom the very first day of my hunting on April 5th.

The challenge was to use the ghillie suit (once in a while the tent blind) and the recurve bow and I did just that for the first three trips. Had a few close encounters with toms, like 12 in number during those hunts but could just not pull it off:ended up missing thee shots with the recurve. BAD!

I thought back to the very first day and that miss. The hunt could have been accomplished with a good tom on that day and I would have posted the "hero shot". But in retrospect, being one who likes to hunt, the "HUNT" would have also been over.

For those who have followed along, you now realize that I killed a good tom in Colorado just last week (compound bow and blind) and it only took me 15 minutes the first morning of the hunt. Prior to that short hunt, I had hunted in Nebraska 15 days.

So with an unfill Nebraska tag, and the vote of the (above) committee, I headed back to Nebraska on Tuesday afternoon.

As I crossed the creek near the enterence of the SWA I spied these wood ducks. Glad to have the camera on hand.

From: Paul@thefort
20-May-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
I arrived at my high observation area to view the surrounding areas and when I scanned down stream to an adjacent field, I sighted a few birds in the exact spot I had set up my blind the last time I was in the area. I watched them feed and then disappear into the woods at the far in.

Since one can hunt turkeys in Nebraska from sunup to sundown, I set up the blind where I thought they might roost: off the field and back in the woods.

At the magic hour and out on the two track, I hear a truck and then a shotgun blast, one, two, three shots. Then all was quite. I figured a few turkeys were crossing the road when the truck driver spotted them.

Later this young buck came by.

From: Paul@thefort
20-May-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
As usual, I slept in the back of the truck, on a foam mat and in a sleeping bag. I had a can of soup warmed up on a one burner stove, a can of peaches, a few sticks of whitetail jerky, and washed it down with a mug of hot spiced cider.

Coming out of the woods, I had reset the blind where I had seen the turkey pass, that after noon in the field, hoping they would chose the same path the next day.

I planned on staying in the blind all day. Yea, all day. I will have food, water and started a new book to read and pass the time. I had finished the other book and what a great read.

From: Paul@thefort
20-May-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
The next moring and well before the sun was up, I was in the blind with high hopes that a tom would be attracted into bow range, with calling and decoys set out.

9am, I hear a tom back in the woods but he faded away with a hen.

10a, I hear a weak gobble near by. I look out the back window and see a jake 30 yards away. I call lightly, but he turns and head away. Dam! or something like that. At this stage of the game, a nice tender Jake would be just fine.

THE WIND PICKS UP AND GUSTS.

3 PM. I exit the blind and spot 5 jakes at the other end of the field. I call but no response.

7pm, I gather up and head back to the truck to make a different plan.

From: Paul@thefort
20-May-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Almost the last light and having dinner on the back tailgate. I see these 4 wt deer on the adjacent ridge.

My plan is to vacate the area and head farther east to another SWA and where I had also hunted the week before and where I had two close encounters with the recurve bow and out of the blind.

My new plan was to use my ASAT leafy camo suit, the Heads UP Tom decoy and the compound bow. I was tired of using the blind and was very tired of setting in the blind for long periods of time.

Time to make something happen as time was running out!

Time to be mobile and proactive!

I drove in the dark and after arriving two hours later, I hit the sleeping bag and set the alarm for 4 PM.

From: Paul@thefort
20-May-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
O'Dark thirty, I was geared up and ready. Within a half hour I had arrived at the same spot I was in the week before but this time without a ground blind.

Time to listen for any nearby turkey sounds. As it became lighter out the normal birds sounds broke the prelight. Off in the distance, a tom. I headed that way and down the edge of a corn field, stopping to listen once in a while. A few WTs were heading back to the thicket to bed and crossing the cut corn rows ahead.. The tom and his hens were roosted at the other end, 250 yards away, but still in the tree.

I waited at the end of the corn field next to some cover, and made sure all of the equipment was ready? bow ready, Heads UP decoy attached, knee pads on, ASAT camo on, face mask up, gloved on, arrow on the string, hen call in mouth.(Sometime I use a gobble shaker to add sound) I had taken off the Tight Spot quiver for less weight as the decoy is mounted on the right side also, causing the bow to be out of balance with both attached. READY as pictured above.

From: Paul@thefort
20-May-16
As you can see in the picture above, the quiver is attached, (photo op). One might notice, I retouched the toms head with more red, white and blue paint to make the tom's head stand out more. I also added some body feather marks to the decoy to give it a more 3d appearence. I cut away at a few of the middle feathers and made a viewing hole so I did not have to look around the decoy to follow the birds when close. Just my take.

From: Paul@thefort
20-May-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
The hens bail out of the tree first and a few minutes later, the tom hits the ground 200 yards away and 50 yards from the hens. He goes into full strut and adds a few gobbles just to let the girls know he is still around and king of the roost.

From: Paul@thefort
20-May-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
The tom stands his ground but the six hens move away and are headng to my end of the field, feeding as they go.

The tom moves slowly and deliberately; all puffed up like the fat king of the roost he is.

I have to make very sure I do not over play my hand. I check out my set up and gear, and then move slowly forward on my knees (thank goodness for the knee pads) with the bow up and the Heads UP decoy hiding me. I send out a few hen yelps. The six hens come to attention and I cross my fingers they do not spook. They see another tom and go back to feeding and still move my way but still 150 yards away.

The tom hears my calling and also goes to attention but a few seconds later, goes back to full strut.

He has spotted the intruder for sure and then at first moves slowly forward. I am not sure what he will do until he does it. Will he leave his hens?

Will he committ to the decoy and come within bow range?

A lot can happen inbetween the 150 yards that separate us. I move the decoy back and forth to show some movement.

The tom take a few more slow steps forward, slow at first but then he commits. He is running down the cut corn row, sort of bouncing like movement, and right into my lap, I hope. 100 yards, 75 yards, 50 yards. He slows down and goes full strut and looks over the situation. Convinced that the intruder is here to steal his hens, he move forward in full display, druming loudly. 30 yards, 25 yards, 20 yards, 15 yards. He lookED as big as a barn with every feather on his body sticking straight out and tail, fanned out full. Had to make sure to pick the right spot among all of those feathers.

Time to slant the bow to the right, (very slowly) and move the decoy off center to provide a good sight picture. He was now off to my right, I turned on my knees, following him. He detected the movement and started to let down his stance. Green pin centered, finger on the release, HE WAS TOO LATE, ARROW GONE!

Above picture of what the tom saw that last second as the arrow was heading his way.

From: Paul@thefort
20-May-16
"it ain't over until the fat lady sings" so the saying goes.

Well one might expect with a well placed arrow, the hunt was over and the prize was mine.

NOT SO!. If you think there was drama prior to the shot, well think again. There was a lot more drama after the shot and more to come.

WACK! Feathers exploding, turkey tumbling, doing back flips and then rollng a few yards. The 471 grain arrow, with a 125 gr mech BH, traveling at 250 fps closed the 15 yards real fast, a mili- second. This is the same bow/arrow set up I use for 200 lb deer and 500 lb elk, (minus the mech BH for a fixed BH)

But the arrow BH penetrated both breasts, and broke the left wind near the joint and then the shaft stayed in the body, with the BH out one side and the vanes out the other. I shouted to myself, "die, die, die,"

The toms was not about to listen and he righted himself on his good legs, pointed backed the way he had come, and took off on a dead run like his tail was on fire. I again shouted to myself, " die, die, die" as he headed away, expecting him to pile up at any second.

I watched him cover the 200 yards back to the woods edge and disappear, the arrow still in him and sticking out both sides. "Dam!" or something like that, I said.

From: Paul@thefort
20-May-16
I sat still for over 30 minutes hoping I would find the dead tom just inside the woods line. Getting up I zig zagged across the corn row the tom had traveled on in hope to pick up any blood trail and an indication where he had entered the woods. NOT A BROP OR SIGN!

The tree line ended up being a small one acre wooded island surrounded on both side by the corn field. I circled round it carefuly without any noise. NOT A DROP OR SIGN OF BLOOD, FEATHERS OR BROKEN OFF ARROW!

On the second go around I would look carefully in the tall grass, brush, and downed logs. I was halfway around when I noticed some broken and laid down tall grass heading into the island. Too wide for a deer trail so I followed it for twenty feet.

THE TOM TURKEY EXPLODED AT MY FEET FROM THE TALL GRASS AND RAN FORWARD, CLIMBING OVER DEADFALLS, LIMBS, AND FINELY BREAKING FREE BACK INTO THE CORN FIELD. I had no time to mount an arrow, so I chased after him around the corner of the island. He had a head start and entered the adjacent woods 70 yards away. "Dam! I said, or something like that.

I was disapointed that I had not been more careful and had an arrow on the string. There he was for a brief moment at 5 feet, but now gone, and maybe gone forever.

From: Paul@thefort
20-May-16
Again I waited for a few minutes before I advanced to where I had last seen him. AGAIN NO SIGN.

And what compounded the problem was that there was deep creek just 150 ft away but I figure with a broken wing he would not be able to fly across, at least I hope that was true.

I started the slow search, but this time mounted an arrow. Inch by inch, foot by foot I looked and examined every sq foot of the area and then rechecked it again. NO Tom turkey!. Here did he go.

Ok, Paul, one more time around this area and along the creek. I expanded the search a little farther down stream and along a narrow deer trail just adjacent to the creek under a 5 ft bank. Just a few more minutes and I would give up the search.. I climbed up the bank and looked carefuly over towards the water into the tall grass.

THERE HE WAS IN THE TALL GRASS, HEAD UP BUT LAYING STILL. HE HAD RUN OUT OF TRAIL AS THE TRAIL CROSSED THE CREEK AND HE WAS UNABLE TO GO FORWARD.

I ducked down, readied the bow, stood up, aimed, and sent the arrow into his body. He flopped a few times and died. IT HAD BEEN TWO AND ONE HALF HOURS SINCE I HAD RELEASE THE FIRST ARROW OVER 500 YARDS AWAY.

ONE TOUGH BIRD and a good example of a missed shot into the vitals.

One can place a red dot on a picture of a tom, to where they think the best shot placement should be, and those who confirm that, will also believe in the red dot shot placement. But put that into practice, ie, the red dot on a live bird, under a stressfull hunitng situation, and missing that red dot by a few inches can result in a simular situation as this. Luckly I found this tom, my 45th tom kill, 40 with the bow.

From: Paul@thefort
20-May-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
I picked up the tom with still both arrows in him. He was heavy and later I weighted him on a scale, he was 24 lbs

From: Paul@thefort
20-May-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
I picked him up by his legs and almost got pricked hard.

1 3/8 inch long very sharp spurs will do that. A true limb hanger. Actually my first ever an I have hunted turkeys in six states.

From: Paul@thefort
20-May-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
A true mature tom, maybe 3-4 years old. He died a noble death, defending his hens and trying to fend off an intruding tom. A fighter and warrior.

From: Paul@thefort
20-May-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
This was the forth close up encounter I had had using the Heads Up tom decoy over the past few years, but the first kill.

There is a learning curve when using one which only is learned by actual in the field experiences.

I have learned that a tom with hens seems to be attracted to the decoy and is willing to defend them. but like calling elk or grunting deer, they all are not attracted and may not come in.

I learned to draw when the tom is out farther and then wait for him to close in. Draw behind the decoy and wait and then slowly tilt the decoy out of the way and pick a spot. As stated, I took the bow quiver off to reduce weight.

Being in some high grass to hid your lower body when kneeling can help hid you some.

Practice at home before heading out so you will understand the bow's reaction when adding the decoy to the bow.

So, 19 days of turkey hunting in two states. The Colorado hunt only took a few minutes so the rest of the time was spent, with four trips to Nebraska.

It could have been all over the first day on April 5, with the gillie suit and recurve bow but then I would then have to stop hunting early.

The first tom I missed back then would have been a good trophy and a bird for the pot but now I killed a tom, very heavy with long spurs and a great trophy.

The challenge is on going and maybe next year, the ghilly suit and stick with bring home the prize.

Thanks for following along as that was, as always, fun to share.

My best, Paul

From: trkyslr
21-May-16
Good job Paul! I enjoy your threads and pics. Until next year :-)

From: jims
21-May-16
Great job Paul! Liked the happy ending...for you at least!

21-May-16
Excellent story. I appreciate the details of how you used the decoy. Hope to get my last one with HUD yet this year

21-May-16
Congrats, Paul!

From: Genesis
21-May-16
You don't need to be reading books you need to be writing them....

Thanks again Paul!

From: GRoe
21-May-16
Great story Paul...I love all the wildlife photos. Makes me feel like I was right there with you. Congrats on the birds you will eat good!

GR Heads Up Decoy

From: Greg Kush
21-May-16
Great write up, Paul. Congrats!

From: 6x6 bull
21-May-16
Thanks for the story Paul. Amazing as always. You have inspired me to try harder and not give up so easily next year. I came back from KS and NE with great memories but unfilled tags. I never even dreamed of going back and having any luck that late in the season. The old timers hear in MO have always said that once the Black Locust bloom turkey season is done. I have found that true and it usually happens about the middle of our third week of the season. Guess things happen later out west.

From: Paul@thefort
21-May-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Chris, glad you enjoyed the story and hunts

Jims, Happy hunter, happy ending

Jerry, keep at it and try the Headsup, I know you have one

Aaron, thanks

Steve, fun sharing with words and pics

Garrett, your decoys surely adds a great tool to hunt with. Looking forward to use the doe mule deer decoy this season in the high country.

Greg, your hunt on video, with the stick was impressive

Terry, I had never hunted this late in the season and did not know what to expect. This tom was fired up and on the way home I saw other toms in the fields, in full display and with hens. The Headsup decoy is well worth a try the next time you decide to hunt and anytime during the season. I know I am glad I purchased one.

Thanks all, Paul

From: writer
22-May-16
Way to stick with it, Paul.

Your best bird, and with the attack-style of hunt - congrats.

From: Paul@thefort
22-May-16
Michael, after that many days afield, I started to feel like a TURKAHOLIC.

my best, Paul

From: willliamtell
23-May-16
Paul you are a turkey hunting fool, and I mean that as a full compliment. You wanted a challenge and you certainly got that, and two beautiful toms. Congrats!

From: Mark Watkins
23-May-16
"IT HAD BEEN TWO AND ONE HALF HOURS SINCE I HAD RELEASE THE FIRST ARROW OVER 500 YARDS AWAY."

A testament to your skill and persistence as a hunter Paul!

Congrats on #39 and #40 with the bow......great hunts, great stories, great pics.....Congrats!

Thanks for taking us along!

Mark

From: Paul@thefort
23-May-16
Thanks Ben, I do not bowl or golf so I have to "fool" around with something and bow hunting surely fills that bill.

Mark, I have learned a lot over the years and my first priority is---- I owe it to the game I hunt to find them when wounded. As much as we love to see them drop within eye sight, there are a few times they do not and this is when the skill of tracking presents itself; a learned skill for sure if one takes the time.

I appreciate the comments.

my best, Paul

From: midwest
23-May-16
Wow....definitely saved the best for last! What a great trophy....can't imaging the excitement of that big ol' tom coming in!

From: Paul@thefort
24-May-16
Nick, the excitement was watching this tom, in plain view, come 150 yards into my lap.

From: Brotsky
24-May-16
Awesome bird Paul! I always thought that hunting hard until the very end and then filling my tag was the most fulfilling way to spend a hunt/season. You definitely earned this one and displayed what we all know is your true grit and character in searching out that wounded tom and making an excellent recovery. Thank you for sharing and congratulations!

From: longbeard
24-May-16
Great job Paul!! I am a "spur" man and that was a home run for sure. Congrats!!

From: Paul@thefort
24-May-16
Justin, Last year during elk archery season I missed a bull the very first evening of the season. Twenty days later I kill a good cow elk.

Missing that bull allowed me to hunt 19 more days and I had a great time in the high country chasing elk. First day success? Much too short of a hunt that we wait all year to do again. Sort of like this season's turkey season.

Rich, what have you done with the spurs over the years? I want to showcase these long ones somehow. Anyone??

my best, Paul

From: Beav
25-May-16
Great job Paul!

From: longbeard
25-May-16
I sand them round on the leg attached end, then drill a hole and string them on a gold necklace. Many guys use the hollowed out leg section for the stringer attachment

From: Paul@thefort
26-May-16
I want to thank everyone for the nice comments concerning this thread.

Part of being a Bowsiter, is sharing our hunts and information as I know it has help me over the years to develop new tactics to hunt a variety of game.

I know there are more hunters today packing a camera along and many share their photo with the rest of us. The quality of the stories and photos are fantastic and they surely inspire us all to be better hunters.

I will be hunting Colorado pronghorn, deer in Colorado and Nebraska and elk in Colorado so maybe, just maybe there might be another story to tell.

my best, Paul

From: writer
29-May-16
What, you won't be hunting geese with your dog next fall and winter, Paul?

Say it ain't so, say it ain't so....!!!!!!!!!

From: Paul@thefort
29-May-16
I may be able to hunt geese before I leave for Arizona at the end of December to hunt Coues deer in January.

Hunting geese with the bow gets better the week before Christmas as the weather turns cold.

I hope to tell the story of the bull elk I kill with my recurve bow. Time will tell.

Thanks for the note. Paul

From: Paul@thefort
28-Mar-17
As turkey season closes in on a lot of us I thought I would re-live my turkey hunting adventures from the 2016 season in Nebraska and Colorado. Hope it gets you fired up and if you do not succeed, then try, try again.

my best, paul

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