Don't EVER Give Up!

If you would have told me that I would hunt hard for 2 days and not even lay eyes on a turkey, I would have told you to go pound sand.  But, that is exactly what happened to me on my latest turkey hunt.  I hunted Friday morning and dealt with high winds.  We set up in a field where I had scouted several nice toms, but with that wind, the birds did not want to step out in the open.

The next morning we tried a different spot on a different property and only had a short window of good weather as a front was moving in.  We heard one bird on the roost but he didn’t make it to our setup before the downpour started.  I was disappointed, no doubt, but I was not ready to give up just yet.

When Sunday morning came around, the weather turned for the better.  There was only a slight wind and it was going to be a bright sunny day. I was actually excited to get back out, even though the previous 2 days had been miserable hunting conditions.  When that first gobble broke the morning air on Sunday, I knew my luck was about to change.  On Friday I tried yelping to the toms that were on the roost and they did not come in, so I adjusted the calling strategy and only gobbled to the birds on the roost Sunday.  I tried to act like a real gobbler and respond to crows, airplanes, and other gobblers sounding off.  I also mimicked a turkey flying down from the roost using my hat.

Once the birds pitched down from the roost I thought for sure they would come my direction, but they didn’t.  They pitched down into a valley instead of flying toward the field.  I was beginning to wonder why they went the other way, then I heard a hen yelping down in the bottom.  I tried to mimic her word for word, so that she would get jealous.  I have learned that if a tom is henned-up, the best way to bring him in is by calling in the hen that he is attached to.  After about 15 minutes of her calling, she got quiet, so I did the same.  We didn’t hear any turkeys for a solid 30 minutes.  I was starting to think it wasn’t going to happen.  My brother was in the blind with me and we had dropped our facemasks and were thinking about what our next move would be.  We were almost going to pack up, then a turkey gobbled from 50 yards BEHIND the blind.  The birds that pitched off the roost had made a big loop.  Now they were coming in from the opposite direction we expected them to.

Luckily I had a strutting tom decoy to focus their attention when they walked past the side of our blind and the dominant bird decided to give my strutter a few jabs.  When he did that, he ran around the hen decoy and I waited until he was looking the other way to draw my bow.  I let the arrow fly as soon as he cleared the hen decoy, and made a good shot.  Within 1 minute of thinking I was out of the action for the day, I was standing over a gorgeous 24.5 lb turkey.  My first attempt at shooting a turkey with a bow and I was successful.  It just goes to show that even when things don’t seem like they are going to work out, your luck can change anytime!!  DON’T EVER GIVE UP!!

Check out my hunt here: https://youtu.be/IWgOdaXXxpM

-Tim Neuman, Wildlife Biologist

 

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