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Turkey Season - Spring 2009
Submitted by diybow
I never had the desire to hunt turkeys. I don't know why, maybe I just had other goals.
When I hunted blacktail in central California last summer, I saw my first wild turkey up close and personal. By the end of the hunt, with a great buck on the ground, I had seen at least a hundred birds. I said to myself, "Self, why haven't you ever hunted these birds? They are all over!" I thought about those turkeys almost every day leading up to the next turkey season, and I bought every video and call I could find. The week prior to the hunt, that diaphragm call didn't leave my mouth. Everyone I knew and worked with were annoyed as could be.
Two days before the hunt I was already packed and ready to go with calls, decoys, a Double Bull Blind, bow, camo and about fifty other things that I didn't even need; I was more than prepared. I left the next morning with Team DIY member Chad Martin and our buddy Craig Charnesky. I had it all worked out! All that we had to do was set up the decoys and the blind and start calling.
It started out great. We had gobblers in their roosts answering back to us, and when the sun came up they were strutting at 130 yards, coming in quick. This was going to be easy.
By the time they reached 100 yards, something happened. The two toms that we had already envisioned in the freezer were running like hell in the other direction. What happened? Why were they running? After a few more times of almost the exact same thing happening, I realized what the problem was. It was me. As soon as the birds got close enough to really hear my calling, they were gone. How could this be? I had watched the videos, practiced with the calls, had the decoys, the whole nine yards.
I suddenly gained a whole new respect for turkeys and those who hunted them. This truly was going to be one of the hardest challenges of my hunting career. What were we going to do next? None of us had any experience hunting turkeys.
We went back to camp, ate lunch, and discussed what to do next. After an hour or so, we decided on the only thing we knew how to do... spot and stalk.
There we were, binoculars in hand, watching some toms feeding about 300 yards away. We came up with a game plan and we were off. The gobblers slowly fed over a small ridge; this was our chance. As soon as the last one moved out of view, we ran as fast as we could to close the distance. It was a sight to be seen. There we were, bows in hand, running across an open field with our packs jumping up and down, looking like three crazed maniacs. We finally slowed down about 30 yards from the spot where we had last seen the birds.
As we belly crawled to the last point we had seen them and peered through the grass, we saw them feeding at 45 yards. Now we had them! But before I even thought about drawing my bow, they we off and running AGAIN! I knew that they had to have seen us. At this point I realized that everything I had heard about their senses was true.
We gathered our thoughts and decided to stalk them again. This time we made our way to less than 60 yards and, to my surprise, they didn't run away. They started to feed toward us, so I picked out a nice tom and ranged him at 52 yards. As I drew back and settled my 50 yard pin on the bird, he stopped to make his last gobble; I let that arrow fly. It hit him perfectly! With the adrenaline making my hands shake, we made our way to my arrow; it seemed like an eternity. As I pulled my arrow from the oak leaves, I saw him lying on the ground 20 yards away. I ran straight to him and couldn't believe my eyes. He had about a 6 inch beard and must have weighed 25 pounds. What a trophy!
We now had two more gobblers to harvest, so I threw it in my pack and we set off after the other toms that had been with my bird. By the end of the day, we all had birds on the ground. This goes to show how persistence pays off. Never stop, no matter how many challenges you face.