Now I have usually viewed the turkey as a pretty stupid and unintelligent bird. An animal that usually doesn't require a LOT of work to decoy in and shoot at 20 yards or less. As long as you’ve got some birds located on the roost and you’ve got a decent set and some decent calling, you can usually tag out fairly quickly with no more than 5 sets. And because of how easy it “usually” is to decoy these birds, I choose to chase them with a bow an arrow every year to make it a little more of a challenge. On top of using archery equipment AND trying to capture it all on film, we also choose to aim for a relatively small target (also known as their head), so that away it’s about as tough as it can get for us.
Now that I have told you how “stupid” and “unintelligent” turkeys “usually” are, let me now tell you about the stealth, brilliance, geniusness and the divine protection of the birds I’ve been hunting this year...
And before I do, let me preface by saying this: I realize that when men set around camp fires and tell hunting/fishing stories, that usually there is always an exaggeration of the story to some degree. I realize that in the midst of good story tellin, that there is always some added feature to the story of some sort to help make the story a little better. The deer is ALWAYS a little bigger, smarter, faster, taller, something... but please let me be perfectly clear right now and inform you that every detail of this “story” is the honest to God truth and there is NO exaggeration to ANY degree! What I’m about to share with you is exactly what happened, how it happened AND how often it happened. The events are as followed:
It all started on April 1st of 2013 when archery season for turkeys officially started here in Kansas. It was a colder, wetter spring than normal, but we had the birds none the less. 17 Toms, 20 - 30 hens and 8 jakes to be exact. With THAT many birds on just ONE of our farms, we knew it was gonna be a good turkey season... or so we thought.
The season started like normal with most of the Toms being “hened up”, so it was pretty hard to pull them away from all their hens that first morning. Finally we made a blind change and manage to get the hens to come right in front of us with the toms following close behind. My camera man and I knew it was a done deal... or so we thought. These birds were strutting, gobbling and putting on a show and then at about the 30 yard mark, 5 jakes come out of the timber, out of no where and stand between the toms and our decoys. The stand off took place for about 45 minutes before the toms decided to NOT do that morning. Sets 3-8 happened just the same, with this stupid group of jakes short stopping our toms and discouraging them from coming in. We decided to give these birds a break and try some others the next couple of weeks... No luck.
Because of where these birds roost, the hedge row always casts a shadow on the birds at first light and since we’re filming, we’re always trying to get the best footage possible with light and all, so we never wanted to set up right off the roost, knowing that the sun wouldn’t be hitting them. But as the season wore on, we found ourselves moving the blind closer and closer to the roost and NEVER could get these 4 big toms to do it right. We tried a lot of decoys and no decoys. We tried a lot of calling and no calling. We tried it with a blind and without a blind and never EVER could get it done. This was starting to be absolutely ridiculous!!! Never in the history of turkey hunting, have I ever had this much trouble killing a turkey. There is NO WAY these birds were this smart/lucky.
Now here’s where the story changes and some might think I’m stretching the truth to make the story better... but let me reassure you that every bit of this is true!
In the pursuit of an animal, have you ever felt like it just wasn’t suppose to happen. As if God Himself had decided that you weren’t gonna shoot that particular animal or that maybe you shouldn’t even be hunting at all (at least not that particular animal). This was definitely the case with us. After a month of chasing these stupid birds, we started questioning whether or not God wanted us to even be “turkey hunters”. That maybe we should just stick to deer hunting and leave the turkeys alone all together, because I swear that these birds were Divinely protected by their Creator. EVERY (and I do mean EVERY) time we set up on these birds, they would do the complete opposite.
Finally we said “screw it” and set the blind up right off of their roost knowing that we’d catch them struttin right in front of us like they had done every other morning we had set up on them.... WRONG!!! We would set up in the blind, they would go south of us. We would set up south and they would go north. No joke, one morning we set up in the blind and they hit the ground behind us in the timber and walked 250 yards south and strutted 20 yards in front of the truck. Yes! I said 20 YARD IN FRONT OF THE TRUCK!!! And YES... the truck was in PLAIN SIGHT!!! People... I’m not making this crap up! The next morning we set up closer to the truck and guess what... they decided that they wanted to strut 5 yards in front of the blind that morning. The next morning we set up in the blind (with no decoys) and they go back towards the truck. Several mornings later we go down a little later to try stalking them and wind up with the perfect set up, as they’re headed right to us and then as they get about 20 yards away, they decide to cut into the timber and go to another field. Still, another morning... we’re setup in a different spot without a blind and the wind picks up and they AGAIN cut back in the timber where they then strutted 10 yards behind us for 15 minutes, but we couldn’t move, other wise they would have busted us (filming and bow hunting makes it a little harder). Another morning we drive down a little later to stalk them and they’re strutting right in front of the blind AGAIN, so we finally decide that we’re gonna leave them alone and setup in the blind again the next morning without any decoys and hope they do the same thing. So now we’re setup in the blind again with no decoys and ALL of the hens come right in front of us and work their way on by along with two jakes and guess who decides to NOT follow the hens that morning? Yup... you guessed it! Those four STUPID little toms! What do they do? They randomly decide to go south again for whatever freakin reason!!! STUPID, STUPID BIRDS!!!
By this point, I’m PISSED and I’m tired of playing fair. My love for turkey hunting has now turned into an all out hatred of these 4 stupid birds. No longer is it a joy to just be outside enjoying God’s creation. NO... at this point, I’m ready to freakin kill something! I don’t even care if we get it on video any more. All I know, is that everyone of these suckers needs to die, so the next morning I tell my camera man to leave the camera man to leave the camera behind and load up 5 of his best shells, as I plan on doing the same, cause we’re gonna shoot EVERY FREAKIN turkey that we possibly can (clearly that’s not legal, that’s just what I wanted to do because of how much I hated these birds). Finally, with one week left in the season, we wake up earlier than normal and ever so quietly sneak within feet of where they’ve been landing right off the roost (like I said... I’m not playing fair anymore). One hits the ground... two, three and so on. Finally all the birds have hit the ground and those four stupid little birds are strutting right in front of us as 20 yards. No cameras, no bows, just me, my camera man and our fully loaded semi automatic shotguns.
Revenge never felt so good! :)