|First set up of the year screen capture Click to enlarge|
Some early season attempts to help my 8 year old son bag his first bird were feudal. His desire to hunt exceeded his physical ability, but sometimes in order to make them understand...they have to fail. I am not in a rush to get my son to killing animals. I hope he has an entire life ahead of him chasing birds and big game. When we mutually agreed that he was still a ways out from shooting a bird, it was time for me to pick up the bow.
|Heads Up Turkey Decoy shown with Bow Mount|
I fired up the cameras and slid the Heads Up Turkey Decoy in the Bow Mount. After a few soft hen calls, the birds were nearing bow range. The hens were leading the flock with the toms, in typical fashion, dragging up the rear. I had hoped the 2 would gang up on their intruder, but instead they angled off their direct path. The toms hung out strutting some 25 yards away while the hens continued their course now inside of 10 yards. Adjusting to the toms, I shifted my weight only to annoy a nearby hen. Her warning putts made me anxious, so I drew my bow thinking this was as good as it's going to get. When the arrow skipped low in the dirt, I thought to myself, first set up of the year...to good to be true.
|Simulating a tom coming in and out of strut|
One or two other attempts over the next couple of weeks fell short with no encounters. The month of May was here and no tags punched. We were blessed with a gorgeous early May afternoon. I set all my priorities aside and headed to the field. I was going to try another tactic. There was a pretty good breeze from the south, nothing out of the ordinary, but rather than run the decoy from the bow, I was going to stake it into the ground in front of me and navigate from behind.
It was warm so I expected the birds would be in the shade before they started their late afternoon stroll towards roost. As luck would have it, I spotted 2 lone toms under a cottonwood soaking up the shade. I hid the truck and positioned myself just inside the property line. I was going to call these two jokers out of the creek bottom, across a plowed field, over the road, and under the fence where I had permission to hunt. I've had better sets ups. As improbable as it looks, I felt my chances were good.
|Set up using the ground stake|
Once set up with the decoy easily seen from the far edge of the plowed field, I let out a series of yelps from a new call I purchased from Phelps Game Calls. The Rippin Red. I liked it...and apparently so did the toms. After a few short moments, I spotted the pair on the edge of the field. I picked up the Heads Up in my hand and simulated a tom turkey going in and out of strut. I also moved it side to side. There were coming.
As I "worked" the birds across the plowed field, the closer they came the harder it was to track them. Looking through the tail fan on the decoy or under it, I was able to pick up glimpses of red heads bobbing along. The birds where crossing the road. At the edge of the fence, some 5 steps away the birds angle to my right. They were point blank...but in the road. I had to wait for them to cross under the fence. Dropping their heads and bodies to slip under the fence less than 10 yards away, I came to full draw. Seeing some movement the birds continued on their angled course to my right. I was able to spot a good beard on one of the birds and as soon as he cleared into my shooting lane, I thumped him. The arrow hit solid and the bird flapped down the fence line. I pursued. I gave the bird one more arrow just for insurance. It wasn't needed. I observed a substantial blood trail leading back to my decoy and camera.
|Full Draw On the bird I shot|
|Bird pictured with all the essential equipment|