Every year I look forward to chasing turkeys with my bow and sharing my hunts with my good friend Dave. We have teamed up for some very good hunts and always seem to get it done. He is an excellent hunter and we share a lot of laughs while out in the field. We just came back from a short hunt in Northern Idaho. We have hunted this area before and have learned the best places and techniques to bagging a mature Tom with our bows.
A big key to success is having the right set up and be in the right spot to get the birds into less than 10 yards. Here we had the 1 hen lying down and the other feeding. The Tom was facing us. It is important to face the tail towards the direction you think the Tom will come from. This bird was gobbling with a handful of hens and we got close and set up. He was down the hill behind the decoys and knew he had to come up the hill to see the set up. Most mature birds will come around and face the advisary and give you a great shot.
After a little calling the Tom could not resist coming up the hill to see if he could add these hens to his group. Once he crested the hill he saw the strutter and could not resist. He came right into the spread at full strut and Dave made a great shot. I captured the entire hunt on video for him.
That afternoon we hunted a different area and I was up to bat. We noticed that a Tom we were working was very hesitant about coming into our same spread. This bird must have had a few bad encounters with another Tom in the area and was very timid. We tried to take the strutter down after he left and call him back in but he had made his mind up not to take on another Tom. We roosted the birds and set the blind up that night in the dark. We were going to be close to their fly down zone and did not want to make any noise come morning.
The next morning we decided to only put out hens and not go with the strutting Tom. It is also very important to use very realistic decoys. I have these new hens I got and as always my strutter has a real fan in it. This added realism makes the difference no doubt. Dave even goes to the extreme of replacing the eyes on his decoys with real glass eyes from a taxidermist.
I put out the 2 hens and we nestled into the blind 30 minutes before the song birds started to wake up. The gobbling began and soon the birds hit the ground. It took a while for the group to make their way out into the green field we were sitting on. There was 4 hens 2 Jakes and the 1 Tom. The males responded to our calling a few times and at one point the 3 were less than 5 yards from the blind gobbling spitting and drumming. The problem was they were on the backside of the blind and behind the pine tree we used for cover. After about an hour the hens fed out into the field and brought the Tom with them. The Jakes kept hazing the strutting bird away from my hens as the so often do.
Patience and just some subtle calling brought the big bird closer to the hens. As he cleared the window in the blind I came to full draw and made sure the camera was rolling. After a nod from Dave I settled the Hoyt in and shot the bird broadside at under 15 yards. He went only 20 yards and never left the field.