Mathews Inc.
WHO KILLED TOM???
Turkey
Contributors to this thread:
Paul@thefort 29-Apr-18
JTV 29-Apr-18
Jaquomo 29-Apr-18
Paul@thefort 29-Apr-18
JTV 29-Apr-18
Glunt@work 29-Apr-18
tobywon 29-Apr-18
Bou'bound 29-Apr-18
Huntcell 29-Apr-18
HUNT MAN 29-Apr-18
Paul@thefort 29-Apr-18
Paul@thefort 29-Apr-18
Paul@thefort 29-Apr-18
Paul@thefort 29-Apr-18
Paul@thefort 29-Apr-18
Jaquomo 29-Apr-18
Mark Watkins 29-Apr-18
Paul@thefort 29-Apr-18
Paul@thefort 29-Apr-18
Paul@thefort 29-Apr-18
Paul@thefort 29-Apr-18
Paul@thefort 29-Apr-18
Paul@thefort 29-Apr-18
Paul@thefort 29-Apr-18
'Ike' 29-Apr-18
Paul@thefort 29-Apr-18
Marty 29-Apr-18
Paul@thefort 29-Apr-18
t-roy 29-Apr-18
Paul@thefort 30-Apr-18
SBH 30-Apr-18
OFFHNTN 30-Apr-18
Paul@thefort 30-Apr-18
Beav 30-Apr-18
Paul@thefort 30-Apr-18
GhostBird 30-Apr-18
Drahthaar 30-Apr-18
scentman 30-Apr-18
buzz mc 30-Apr-18
Paul@thefort 01-May-18
Timbrhuntr 01-May-18
Paul@thefort 01-May-18
Grunter 01-May-18
Marty 01-May-18
wkochevar 01-May-18
Paul@thefort 02-May-18
BIG BEAR 02-May-18
BIG BEAR 02-May-18
BIG BEAR 02-May-18
BIG BEAR 02-May-18
Paul@thefort 02-May-18
BOWNBIRDHNTR 03-May-18
Paul@thefort 03-May-18
TD 03-May-18
Carcajou 04-May-18
From: Paul@thefort
29-Apr-18
Maybe the better question would be, WHAT KILL TOM?

From: JTV
29-Apr-18
very cryptic ..........

From: Jaquomo
29-Apr-18
Insert ghostly "woooooo" here.

From: Paul@thefort
29-Apr-18

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
WHAT KILLED TOM? I might have to bring in Sherlock Holmes for this one. Forensic science for sure. Full moon? Lightening strike? Bad karma?

From: JTV
29-Apr-18
Roadkill ......

From: Glunt@work
29-Apr-18
Colonel Mustard in the parlor with a candlestick?

From: tobywon
29-Apr-18
Wake him up he's just sleeping. Maybe tired of chasing the girls.

From: Bou'bound
29-Apr-18
Not following this one..............

From: Huntcell
29-Apr-18
Looks like murder, I suspect it was the Three Jakes gang, Jocko, Jacko and Jayko!

From: HUNT MAN
29-Apr-18
I think he was hit by a shockwave !!!

From: Paul@thefort
29-Apr-18

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
OK, OK, I check with Sherlock after he and I investigated the area. So here is the story.

Last Wed. I headed for the Bluff area of Nebraska for my final turkey hunt for the season. I had killed a great tom in this very spot last year. After attended a funeral Service for a friend in North Platte, I arrived at the hunting spot too late to hunt but did find this turkey flock heading towards where I was going to hunt in the morning. The flock held three toms and 6 hens.

From: Paul@thefort
29-Apr-18
Just after dark I hiked in the 1/2 mile and set up the T2 blind and left the decoys there also. I figured the turkeys were roosted just up the hill from the clearing along side of the hilly, wooded bluff. Sun rise was at 6 am so I would be in the blind before 5:30 am. I was truck camping and as was up and going in at 4:30 am.

From: Paul@thefort
29-Apr-18

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Hear they come
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Hear they come
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Gathering
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Gathering
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this hunt may be over before it starts! Just saying.
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
this hunt may be over before it starts! Just saying.
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
A likely target
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
A likely target
Just at first light, I send out a few tree yelps and get a booming gobble response near by, and just over the fence 100 yards away. They fly down 15 minuted later and land on my side of the fence. Here they come, hens yelping, toms following

From: Paul@thefort
29-Apr-18

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almost bow range, like 25 yards and closing to 15 yards.
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
almost bow range, like 25 yards and closing to 15 yards.
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
20 yards and closing in on the jake decoy. Man, a slam dunk for sure.
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
20 yards and closing in on the jake decoy. Man, a slam dunk for sure.

From: Paul@thefort
29-Apr-18
I put down the camera and then with bow in hand, draw back as he reaches the decoys. Those of you that have shot from a blind in the first light of day and using fiber optic pins, know that the pins do not light up as they do in full sun light. I centered the pin and released. Wam! Well sort off. LOT OF FEATHERS OFF HIS BACK. He is heading away. I grab another arrow and let on fly at 25 yards. Sounds like a hit but the tom keeps walking, not running, joins the rest of the flock, and they disappeared the way they had come. My thoughts raced forward to May 16 when I will have my right eye for cataract operation. This is the second time this year I have shaved feathers off two tom's back.

From: Jaquomo
29-Apr-18
Fear and shock killed him?

From: Mark Watkins
29-Apr-18
Pretty sure Paul's arrow will be the culprit after the forensics are completed.

Mark

From: Paul@thefort
29-Apr-18

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
I checked both arrow and on the second arrow's one vane, found a small smudge of blood, hardly noticeable.

I had planned on setting in the blind all day if needed. Plenty of water, food and a good book to read. I do not mind doing an all day'er as I learn so much of the time/movement of the animal I am after.

So at 2.pm, these three toms show up on the bluff rim 200 yards away and start to feed and just "mess" around. Some time they would split up but then come together later. Most often I had at least one of them in sight. They would answer my occasional call but would not come over.

From: Paul@thefort
29-Apr-18

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and for the next few hours they just hung around doing what turkeys do
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
and for the next few hours they just hung around doing what turkeys do
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and this one tom nested down for a least two hours in the same spot, behind this pine bush and out of the wind.
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
and this one tom nested down for a least two hours in the same spot, behind this pine bush and out of the wind.

From: Paul@thefort
29-Apr-18

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
with a closer look, I noticed a wing feather out of place. Odd.
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
with a closer look, I noticed a wing feather out of place. Odd.

From: Paul@thefort
29-Apr-18
one can notice a wing feather out of place in this photo. But at the time, I thought nothing of it.

From: Paul@thefort
29-Apr-18

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
So now I hear a tom and hen, far behind me and later, at dark, the turkeys come together, toms and hen, and fly up in to a hard wood tree just adjacent to the two track I had to walk out on and within a few yards of where the tom had nested for a few hours.. I gathered up the blind and decoys, planning on setting up in the place I had killed a tom last year, and this place was only 150 feet from the roost tree. I walked by the tree and scattered the birds, some going west, some east. I set up the blind in the dark and hiked back to the truck camp. I would be back in the blind before light.

From: Paul@thefort
29-Apr-18

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Ok, o'dark thirty and I am back in the blind. As now it was time to see well, I cackle on the box call and get a quick response from up on the hill. Later this tom shows up on the rim, sees the decoys 150 yards way, ( I had a jake decoy in the spread. Second thought I should have have had hens only in the spread). Then the tom hears a hen's call over near the fence and he heads that way.

From: Paul@thefort
29-Apr-18
So now that I have laid out the prior situation, this is where it gets interesting and the investigation starts. WHO KILLED TOM??? Wait, I have to check with Sherlock Holmes first about a few more details.

From: 'Ike'
29-Apr-18
Toyota Tacoma, 40-50mph....

From: Paul@thefort
29-Apr-18

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Very dead tom, but how and who and when?
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Very dead tom, but how and who and when?
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a mature tom with a thick beard
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
a mature tom with a thick beard
I looked outside of my blind, to the right 50 ft. What is that? A dark black with white, log? The more I looked the more I was convinced it was a dead tom turkey. I crawled out and sure enough, a large dead tom turkey. But wait, something had been chewing on it and had eaten most of the left breast and scattered feathers. This was fresh! I noticed a few upper wing feather had been clipped of half way but could not determined the cause of the death because of the chewed area. WHO KILLED TOM. AND HOW?

From: Marty
29-Apr-18
Maybe that's Pat's bird......just how far can they run...

From: Paul@thefort
29-Apr-18
Later I walked over near the roost tree 150 ft away and 20 ft from that tree was a blow down and I found a small pool or semi dried blood next to it. Then in the road, some gut, and then across the road heading back to the blind where I had found the dead tom, more gut madder. There is no doubt some critter, fox, coyote, raccoon, had found this bird and had dragged it away and up into the field next to the blind last evening. Maybe even killed it. But wait, I had flushed the turkeys off the roost tree just at last light so there should not have been any turkeys there and they do roost in trees for safety. And while I was in the blind the afternoon before, I did not see or hear any critters in the area attacking any turkeys. SO HOW DID TOM DIE AND WHO DID IT?

I need to check with Sherlock again for his insight and advice. Maybe you guys have some opinions of HOW AND WHO KILLED TOM. The evidence is starting to mount up!

From: t-roy
29-Apr-18
Marty.....That’s funny right there! I don’t care who ya are!

We might have to get Columbo involved in this, Paul!

From: Paul@thefort
30-Apr-18

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Ok, So Sherlock and I agree this might have happened.

At 6:15 that morning, this tom see the jake decoy ( surely he did not know it was a fake) so he commits to the attack. AT 6:17 something passes quickly over his back and shaves a few feathers off. Alarmed, he retreats, only to have something hit his wing a few seconds later, but he also "felt" a very light jab to his under belly or maybe, behind the leg. He then slowly moved away not knowing what had happened. He joined the rest of the flock, which was moving away with some concern.

He and then other two toms might have courted the hens for a few hours but the hens were uninterested in their advances, so the "boys", decided to go off on their own.

At 2 pm that afternoon the three toms were on the side of the bluff over looking the clearing where they had been that morning. (confirmed by the hunter) They could hear some hen cackling from below and answered back with a few gobbles. (hunter calling) The toms might have agreed that the hens could wait so they continues their "boys day out", and fed and rested some, but planned on getting together late that afternoon in the old roost tree next to the old road.

The one tom in contention may have felt tired from the outing (unusual for a tom in the prime of his life) and decided to rest for a time (confirmed by the hunter seeing this tom resting for over two hours behind the pine bush just a few feet from what would be the roost tree).

7:15 pm Sundown. Other turkeys arrive on the scene, a few hens. along with one more tom and all turkeys fly up into the tree for the night.

7:30 PM Dark but full moon light. Turkeys are flushed from the tree, (confirmed by hunter) Hunter retired to truck camp but to return in the morning.

So here is where things get sketchy but the evidence may point to how TOM died and WHO did it.

More review of the evidence. So the second arrow from the hunter just barely misses but does do some slight damage to either the thigh or some internal organ of the tom but not causing enough damage that was evident. (evidence of the smudge of blood on the arrow vane). Tom just walked away (evidence that tom was not overly alarmed or hit).

2:pm. Same three toms show up on hillside (confirmed by hunter) "Same" might be a stretch of the evidence but we will go with it anyway), Hours later, this one tom started to feel weak from some blood loss or eternal issue, and beds down for an extended period of time maybe getting weaker.

7:15 PM, other turkeys arrives and fly up. This tom tries but is too weak or is not able to fly up so he beds down near the roost tree. 7: 30 PM, other turkeys flush from tree. This tom in question remains behind, hidden in plain sight. Hunter walked by. Turkey is still alive (???????) and may survive another day (???????)

6:45 am, hunter finds dead and partly eaten tom near blind, but 150 feet from roost tree. At that time, hunter does not know WHO KILLED TOM but know at least, some critter found the tom on the ground, and finished him off maybe to be frightened off the " kill" by the hunter returning in the morning

Hunter finds more evidence of kill site, ie, blood and gut trail near road.

SO WHO ACTUALLY KILLED TOM? THE HUNTER OR SOME OTHER CRITTER?

The evidence is in. Well sort of. If the tom died during the night from the early morning wounding, then the hunter was surely the killer. But if the tom was killed by an other critter, fox , coyote, (we might presume this was a different tom) but likely not, and the critter just came upon this untouched tom (likely not) we might believe a critter killed him or just came upon a dead turkey near the roost tree. Live or dead, the turkey died.

So, the hunter's near miss seems to be the major cause of ending of this turkey's life, even though it was not clearly evident at the start. This tom seemed to survived for the next 12-14 hours only to meet his final end. A slow death or a quick death at the jaws of some other wild critter.

What is interesting to me is that this partly eaten tom was found just 50 feet from where I had reset the blind the evening before. That I had walked right by this tom that evening and I might believe he was still alive but hiding. Would he have survived the night and to be found in the morning? Was he already dead? I will never know.

Some critter had a good meal. Yep, I KILLED TOM (but maybe not) :)

From: SBH
30-Apr-18
Great post Paul! Interesting hunt!

From: OFFHNTN
30-Apr-18
Interesting Paul! Is the bird with the wounded wing, the same bird that was bedded for 2 hours?

From: Paul@thefort
30-Apr-18
John, I have seen other turkeys with a wing feather out of place so I thought nothing of it when I examined the picture. I am not sure if he had a wounded wing but if the arrow just clipped the wing joint it might have put that wing out of commission. If so, I doubt if the tom even knew his wing was not working correctly if that was the case. But yes, that is the turkey that bedded for 2 hours and then got up, walked, and dropped just out of sight in that same area.

From: Beav
30-Apr-18
I believe you have nailed it! I would guess bobcat as a coyote would have consumed it all. I found a bobcat killed tom opening day this year and he had consumed just under 1/2 a breast. Saw the bobcat the next weekend in he same grove. Great story!

From: Paul@thefort
30-Apr-18
Beav, good possibility Interesting what we hunters find and think about in the Natural World. my best, Paul

From: GhostBird
30-Apr-18
Interesting story Paul. You definitely deserve to take credit for the kill... you know the old "bird in the hand" thing. I'm sure Sherlock would agree.

From: Drahthaar
30-Apr-18
Paul, Great story Like you say will never no for sure. It looked like 1 of the photos of the tom ,that the opposite wing was out of place also. Forrest

From: scentman
30-Apr-18
Cool story... when i first purchased my property some 20 yrs ago my neighbor against my wishes wounded a 2 yr old tom, he said the bird tumbled down the hill in a cloud of feathers. We searched and searched to no avail and called it quits... well 2 days later im hunting my prop and see some feathers in a little stream i follow a trail of feathers to the mouth of a new fox den, low and behold the legs and beard were left at the opening of the den! I took the beard and legs to him and told him he just fed a litter of future turkey hunters and to kindly let me hunt my property because that is why i purchased it... boy was i hot!

From: buzz mc
30-Apr-18
Interesting stuff and I think you have it figured out.

From: Paul@thefort
01-May-18
buzz, if I had not found that small smudge of blood on the arrow vane, I might have not figured it out and might have come to a different conclusion on Who Killed Tom. my best, Paul

From: Timbrhuntr
01-May-18
Not me I shaved a bunch of feathers of his back this am though lol

From: Paul@thefort
01-May-18
And T.P., I thought I was the only one to do that, and twice this year. my best, Paul

From: Grunter
01-May-18
Paul-even though i don't turkey hunt I enjoyed your mysterious turkey hunt story. It makes sense that that bird was the one you hit. I can't say whether you killed him or a predator? I'm guessing like you said he spent the night on the ground. I look forward to hearing about your next adventure

From: Marty
01-May-18
Based on the story, I would guess that a predator killed your bird, since he couldn't fly up. So you both get partial credit in the kill. Looked like another successful trip!

From: wkochevar
01-May-18
If a carnivorous predator had dealt the final card for this bird, wouldn't it's head and neck be more chewed up from the death blow/ bite?? I think he just leaked out and then came the opportunist for a free meal... Just my $0.02. Congrats anyway for the awesome tracking job... ;-) Kip

From: Paul@thefort
02-May-18
wkochevar, That makes sense. Because back near the roost tree and where I found some blood pooled and some gut, there was no feathers scattered, ie, an attack or struggle. If based on that, the tom died during the night, and then was found by a critter, hauled up the hill near the blind and was eaten on. Your $.02 might be valid.

my best, Paul

From: BIG BEAR
02-May-18

BIG BEAR's embedded Photo
BIG BEAR's embedded Photo

From: BIG BEAR
02-May-18

BIG BEAR's embedded Photo
BIG BEAR's embedded Photo

From: BIG BEAR
02-May-18

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BIG BEAR's embedded Photo
Saw some jakes with a white hen while driving around at work this morning......

From: BIG BEAR
02-May-18

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BIG BEAR's embedded Photo

From: Paul@thefort
02-May-18
Bear, none of those turkeys look like the ones I was hunting in Nebraska!!!!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
03-May-18
Fun write up to read Paul. As always, thanks for sharing.

From: Paul@thefort
03-May-18

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Hey Jeff, always interesting trying to figure this stuff out. Hopefully it makes us better hunters. If that critter had taken the turkey just 100 more feet over the hill and behind the bind, we would not be having the conversation and as far as I would know, the tom was alive and well. my best, Paul

From: TD
03-May-18
"now you've stunned him!" Monty Python......

Cool story Paul! Thanks!

From: Carcajou
04-May-18
As always, great write up Paul! Thanks for sharing your Nebraska adventure!

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