This was on the third day and the first two days of the hunt in one location, I had a close encounter with a tom and his three hens the very first day but only could get within 100 yards of them. The second day, no birds around. I was relying on a natural blind and just two hen decoys and my Heads Up decoys if needed.
So on the third day I decided to travel 30 miles to a new spot where I had hunted in the past and where I had seen birds and sort of knew their pattern of movement around the through the bluffs and adjacent pastures. So I get to the parking lot at late afternoon, setup the spotting scope and with in a few minutes (4pm) see a tom a mile away in full strut with four hens. Later another tom joined the group and just seemed to follow along letting the other tom be the dominant one. At near dark, the flock headed up out of the pasture and into the roost area, the two toms separating themselves.
I get up at 3 am the following morning and was on my way at 3:30, with back back, food, water, and one upright hen decoy and compound bow. Sunrise at 5:30 but it would take me an hour to get there and I still hand to figure out exactly where they were and then find a good natural hide. I hiked the two rut road, crossed a stream, climbed down and through a deep gully and the crossed 400 yards of rolly pasture. I get there still in the dark but the eastern sky is starting to light up. Minutes later the first gobble, and then another and then more. One tom was up ahead and closer and then other was farther away but higher up in the timber. The closer one ,200 yards, must have gobbled 20 time before he flew down on the other side of a low hill. He hit the ground and kept gobbling but he was heading away and to the east. Fifteen minutes later I see him on a far ridge 500 yards away, still gobbling. I do believe this was the same "loud mouth" tom I had see and heard during the other trips here. Later he went over the rise and disappeared from sight. His gobbles faded.
The other toms did gobble a few times, he was higher on the ridge and must have been with the hens as I heard one yelp a few times. They all flew down, stayed in the trees and then headed up into the bluffs. I called to him and he would gobble back every time but an hour later no responses were heard. At least he knew a hot hen, ME, was in the area and maybe he would come later to investigate.
Natural blind! So I find this large, single, four truck cedar tree that had branches that touched the ground. There was plenty of room underneath if I trimmed a few branches and a few shooting lanes. This tree was in the wide open pasture on the side hill, within 200 yards of the tree line, with the nearest other single trees, 50 yards away, and just a few. I would be in the shade all day and could still see up the hill where I expected the turkeys to come from. I set up the single, upright hen decoy 15 yards to my right on a small hill so any turkey coming would see the decoy. Now, only 7:30 am, I settled in to wait all day if needed. I figured that the turkeys had been there the previous afternoon, there was a good chance them might be back later. The wait was on.
9am, 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm, 4:10pm and I had just yelped on the box call ( as I did every 15 minutes, and got a response. Good thing, I had eaten my food, taken three different cat naps, drank half of my water. I called back, a gobble in response but now closer. I peek through the branches of the Cedar and first see a hen 70 yards away, she sees the decoy, and she is heading right for my hen decoy with a mature long beard in tow 30 feet behind her. HERE THEY COME, and the hen would pass within 10 yards of my hide.
The tom is coming but still trailing but not in my shooting window yet. Then he decides to make a slight circle away from me and gain some slight elevation but still moving forward. Now out in front moving from left to right through some taller grass. I try to range find him but the grass interferes with the process. . I figure he is at least 20 yards away.
Bow up, arrow on the string, release hooked up, I draw and pick a spot dead center.
Later I was thinking about this. How many times have we planned the perfect ambush, and it never played out for us. The animal was surely invited to the party but must not have read the invitation, and then did not show up. This situation was perfect and here I had a great tom turkey out in front of me. I had made similar shots on toms over the years and this tom should be 'Pot Ready' in a few seconds.
I tightened my finger on the release trigger, and within a nanosecond the arrow reached it's mark.
BUT TOO LOW AND ALL I GOT WAS A HAND FULL OF FEATHERS. It did not take the tom a few seconds to exit the area.
Well, there you go, Everything done right, almost!!!
Actually walking back to the truck I re-lived this hunt and the other two successful turkey hunts I had been on this season, and had no regrets. I had done everything right on two turkey hunts and almost everything right on my last turkey hunt of the year.
my best, Paul
If we won all the time, it would be boring ;^)
Glad you and Trish stopped over today