I made the trip back to my old stomping grounds in southwestern Indiana this past weekend to participate in my Godchild’s 1st Communion on Saturday. The timing worked out great as Indiana’s turkey season opened up on the 25th, and I was able to get a little bit of hunting in with my Dad.
Saturday morning was uneventful as we had only heard a couple gobbles and did not see a bird all morning. We hunted until noon before finally calling it quits for the day and headed back to the house to get a few things done before the 1st Communion. My Dad headed back down to our family farm to take care of feeding and checking on the cattle when he spotted a couple black dots in one of our foodplots. With this information, we knew where we wanted to set up the next morning.
4:45 came early the next morning as we gathered our gear and made the 10 minute drive back to our farm. We set up on the eastern edge of our food plot with the DSD Jake and submissive hen setup only 8 steps away. My Dad was in the shooters seat and I was behind the camera trying to get a bird on video. Before I could even turn on the camera to begin the pre-hunt interview, a bird fired off a mere 150 yards or so behind us. He gobbled his head off all morning before finally hitting the ground.
His gobbling never really stopped, but he moved off in the opposite direction as we heard a second bird fire off to our southeast. After a little bit of aggressive calling, he made his way to about 100 yards away on a ridge in the woodlot behind us. We called about every 15 minutes or so to try to entice him to come into the food plot and it didn’t seem like he wanted to come our way.
Finally around 8:20 my Dad says “Bird!”. I peaked out of a crack in the blind, and a big ol’ redhead was standing in the field about 80 yards away looking our direction. Some light purrs and clucks got him moving in our direction. He blew up into full strut as he made the last few steps into the decoy setup and confronted the DSD Jake. The Tom brushed the decoy, biting his head for what seemed like forever, all the while my Dad was sitting there at full draw.
Finally the bird moved out from behind the Jake decoy and I told my Dad to plant the pin right at the base of the waddles as the Tom faced the blind in full strut. Just before my Dad released, the bird turned quartering to us just so slightly causing the shot to miss the vitals.
The wounded bird ran off to about 60 yards before I was able to pick up my call and try to get the bird to stop. Finally at 80 yards, he turned and slowly started making his way back in our direction! I told my Dad to grab his bow and nock another arrow as we may be in business! We were able to get the bird back in to just past 20 yards before he decided he had seen enough and turned to go the opposite direction. The bird was on the far left side of the blind which didn’t allow my Dad an opportunity to try for a finish shot. By this time, the bird was nearing the 40 yard mark when I told my dad to grab my bow. I nocked an arrow as my Dad pulled down the side of my Matrix blind to allow me a shot. I settled the 40 yard pin on the middle of his back and watched my arrow connect before the bird took off into the wood line.
I felt horrible that my Dad wasn’t the one to kill this bird, but in the end I’m happy we didn’t let a wounded bird escape us and eventually die on it’s own. And I was able to SELFILM it all as I was the one in the camera guys seat.
Here are the stats:
21lbs, 4 oz.
1 3/16″ and 1 1/4″ spurs