These turkeys greeted us upon our arrival at the ranch.
So far turkey season has consisted of an opening day attempt. The turkeys were there and I had my chances. Choosing my bow, but not wanting to set up my blind, I chose to float and shoot from the sitting position while leaning against an oak tree, just as I do with my shotgun.
Because my bow is very short (Mathews MQ32), I can shoot from the sitting position, but it’s not quite like standing. The problem with hunting without a blind is that the birds can see you draw the bow. For this reason, I decided to sit 30 yards from my decoy. This is farther than ideal, but sometimes compromise is necessary to give yourself a chance.
I’d had a response to my calling from a single bird and set up to see if I could get him back. My yelping failed to entice him, but another group of birds responded from behind me. Another series of yelps from my box call got a solid round of gobling from behind me and it was clear that they were on the way. I sat silent and waited.
Wearing my ghilie suit, I felt pretty confident that the birds would not recognize my outline sitting against the tree. The four birds came in behind me and walked by about ten yards to my right. They walked straight to my jake decoy. As they tried to intimidate the decoy, I drew the bow. They noticed my movement and became nervous. A wary old gobbler probably would not have put up with me, but the four jakes did.
I was able to draw and release from 30 yards. My arrow tickled the bird, but did not hit any flesh. He moved a few yards and I missed him again. After the birds passed, I called and they came back resulting in a third miss from 30 yards. Although I twice ticked the bird’s feathers, I never hit him hard enough to even scare him off.
Finally with two arrows left in my quiver and the birds drifting off, I decided it was time to regroup. Unfortunately that was all the action for the day.
I’m planning to try again this weekend. I’ll take my blind this time and try to get the 20-yard shot that will make hitting a bird much easier. However, if they refuse to come close to the blind I’ll once again try it free-lance. I may take my shotgun along in case I wound a bird, but I’m going to stick with archery as my main course.