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Lost my first bird yesterday
Shot a jake last night at about 6pm, first bird ever with my bow. He did a back flip and proceeded to flop in front of me back and forth for 20 yards, then he ended up flopping into the woods behind me and just disappeared. The arrow was a complete pass through and there was feathers and a drop of blood on the arrow. The field in front of me was just covered in feathers, it looked like a coyote tried to grab one and fought with it. But once it hit the woods, all I found were a few feathers and nothing else. I searched at least 100 yards into the woods from the field where he was shot and found nothing. Looked through any thicket or downed tree to see if he tucked himself inside there but couldn't find him. He couldn't get air borne and from what I could tell couldn't really walk. I know they are tough birds but I'm really baffled as to why I didn't find that bird piled up.
If u got a dog, take him for a walk. I would think a nose like that would be a huge help. If a wild nose didnt find it first... Good luck!
go back and look again. They can hide really well, under brush, logs, grass, thickets. Do a grid search. This happened to me in Missouri years back, put an arrow in a tom, he flew 60 yards into the woods. Two hours later found him under a brush pile still alive. I dug towards him, he came out flying still with the arrow in him, traveled 20 more yards, hit the ground running into another brush pile. Got him there. Yep, tough birds for sure. Search farther.
Yes , find a dog , it sounds like you killed that bird. I've walked right by dead deer and for some reason didn't see them until the 3rd pass. Then I get even more irritated that I didn't see it the first two times! Good luck, stay persistent!
Might have been tucked under some brush. I also shot a Turkey once and similar thing and a coyote had actually ran up and started carrying it off
Keep looking. Those things can hide like a flea on a dog. Good luck!
Exactly as others have said. Go back and look again. He’s likely dead, maybe alive close to where you last saw him. They can hide in minimal cover.
Yeah I will have to go back and look for him. The woods next to where I shot him is VERY thick so he has a ton of places to hide. Unfortunately I don't have a dog otherwise I'd use one to try and search.
If you are hunting them with archery you will NOT get them all
I've lost some I was sure I would find and visa versa.
Thats why I switched to the shotgun for turkeys after losing one. Id rather flip the off switch on them and not watch them run off to die hours later lost in a brush pile. If I ever go back to archery turkey it will be with magnus bullheads.
I killed one this year that was buried at the bottom of this pile. I would not have found him had it not been for the following blood trail to that pile. Standing in front of pile of tumble weeds I still could not see him until I started pulling them out.
Blood trail to tumble weed pile
Blood trail to tumble weed pile
Have any buddies with a dog? A lab that works ducks or pheasants? Or a bird dog?
Dogs are a huge help
Brian, where are you at in MN? My dog would make short work of finding that turkey. He's likely in there somewhere piled up. They are amazing at hiding. I've had some doozies over the years. Crazy what they get into.
This bird ran about 50 yards into the bush after the shot and I was hot on his trail....Walked past him twice. finally found him tucked under this cedar tree dead as a doornail, however I probably would never have found him except he clucked a couple times I guess as he was taking his last breath. It made me turn back and dig deeper. they can all but disappear in the undergrowth.
Certainly he could be dead close by,
Or coyote droppings.
I used to regularly hunt a field for geese, sometimes with decoys and sometimes pass shooting from behind the willows at the field edge.
I chased a wounded goose that ran into the willows and within seconds it was grabbed by a coyote.... turns out the coyotes would stage on the field edge whenever I hunted there. Another time chasing a goose across the open field a coyote sprinted in and tried to grab the goose right in front of me. Fur and feathers came home with me that day.
Over the years I've noticed predators/scavengers following while I hunt. They definitely know there is a chance for dinner when people are hunting.
What did you do right after the shot? Sounds like you sat and watched?
I learned from an experienced turkey hunter the first thing you do after the shot is run straight for the bird! and jump on it or stomp its head. They get up and disappear more often than you think. My oldest son lost a bird once because his shotgun was unloaded when we got up to the bird. Rush it when you can! or shoot off its head.
Did you have any luck finding your bird??
And don’t LET GO of it until you are SURE it is dead! ;-)
I knew there would be at least one smart ass in the bunch. Touché
I'm surprised it took that long for a comment alluding to Pat's turkey escapades!
Thats why i went back to guns for turkeys after losing a couple bow shots
Brotsky, Hunting south of Farmington in the southern suburbs. Wildwilderness, Yes I did sit there and watch, because he flopped so much I was expecting him to just stop flopping and lay there, so I wasn't prepared, I should have reloaded another arrow and when I saw him start heading to the woods put another arrow in him. I haven't had any luck finding the bird.
As a fellow Minnesotan I feel for you. I have killed several turkeys with the bow.... and hit several that have gotten away. I have learned that turkeys can be just plain hard to kill, gun or bow. Think about it. This is an animal that can flop around for a minute after its head is cut off. Not much blood, lots of feathers, hard to track. I'm just glad you are taking it serious and following the above advise. They usually go straight, and look under everything. If you cant find him within 100 yds you probably will not. Good Luck
Sorry to hear that Vogie. I would say you did the right thing by staying in the blind. Only time I would consider chasing one is if it is strictly a broken wing. Most hard hit birds are going to seek cover and tuck soon after the shot. Look, look, look so more is all you can do. Like others have said a good bird dog can turn a tough recovery into an easy one often.
After the shot, if the turkey is moving, I’m moving for him. If he lays down in sight, if he’s close, I’ll hit him again. If he just lays there in sight but no shot opportunity, I’ll watch till he dies, or moves on. If he moves on, I’m after him.
Sorry Pat! But that is a CLASSIC! ;-)
And the fact that you have the ability to “own it” and laugh about it is admirable! : )
This is no fun but happens. If they get their wings under them a few flaps and they can glide off to who knows where. Good at hiding in brush piles too. Found my bird last year 5 days later, not much left.
When I first started hunting these things I was set up at the base of a ridge. Another hunter was up on top on a flat field. LaAte morning I see a bird bird glide over me from above and crash to the ground. I waited a while til a hunter showed up. Pretty sure he would have never found that bird if I had not seen it crash and hide.
Tonybear61. Same thing happened to my brother last year. First turkey he ever shot with a bow. He shot it, it took off running and ran about 20yds till he got his wings under him. Bird got probably 100ft off the ground and made it 1/4 mile away and then just fell out of the sky. Never would have found it if hadn't seen it fall
Good luck in finding your bird. As stated, it is good practice to flip up the blind and lay hands (or feet) on the bird ASAP after shooting them. Especially if the bird you shot is alone. I do that selectively based on the hit if their are multiple birds in the decoys.
Big MBH's can change outcomes as well.