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SELFILMED’s Brett Bueltel: Roosted = Tagged Out?!

May 18, 2013:

Just like every year, seasons come and seasons go.  The final weekend of the Ohio spring turkey season was this weekend, and with one tag left to fill, it looked like I’d be getting up early at least one more time before season ended.

With my wife heading out-of-town this weekend, I decided to head out to the property I hunt after work on Friday to attempt to roost a gobbler for the next morning.  Rain had been moving in and out of the area throughout the day and more thunderstorms were expected to move in throughout the weekend.

Tall vegetation and muddy fields limit areas to setup for the mornings hunt.
Tall vegetation and muddy fields limit areas to set up for the mornings hunt.

With that in mind, I knew the birds would be out in the fields.  I made the walk back towards my hunting grounds, glassing every few steps to try to spot any birds in the fields before they had a chance to spot me.  I made it about 2/3rds of the way back to the bottom field I had hunted opening weekend when I glassed and spotted 4 red heads out in the upper field about 200 yards away.  “Gobblers!” I immediately thought.  I stood motionless for what seemed like 20 minutes before they finally moved off in the opposite direction and I could see they were actually a group of Jakes.  Along with them was a lone hen.  I watched them for another 30 minutes through my binoculars until they flew up to roost at 8:15 PM.

I made my way down further towards the bottoms and waited for darkness to take over the area before pulling out an owl hooter to try to locate another bird.  Without hearing a single gobble and still having a tag in my pocket, I figured my best bet would to be to set up in the morning on the Jakes I had just watched fly up earlier in the evening.

Jakes start hitting the field after flying down off the roost.
Jakes start hitting the field after flying down off the roost.

The vegetation had grown up substantially over the last couple weeks since season had begun, and along with the rain, meant muddy/sloppy crop fields.  This really limited my setup options for the next morning.

The fields had already been planted in beans, and not wanting to tear up the farmer’s field, I decided to set up on a thin mowed path running along the field I had watched the birds roost the night before.

I snuck within 100-120 yards from where the birds had flown up the previous evening, and quietly setup my blind, DSD decoys, decoy camera and put the rest of my gear inside the blind.  As I finished getting my camera gear up and running, Bowstix on my bow, and an arrow nocked on my Hoyt Spyder 34, rain started to patter lightly on the blind.

Hen approaches the field edge.
Hen approaches the field edge.

I had only been sitting there for about a 20 minutes before I could hear a few tree yelps.  10 minutes later I hear wing flaps and the first Jake coasted to a stop in the field to the north-east of my hide.  One by one the Jakes flew down and started stretching/preening themselves after a long night on the roost.  The hen was the last to fly down and by this time the Jakes were strutting as they worked their way from north to south keeping a distance of 70-80 yards from my blind.

I picked up my Roadblock slate call and was able to coax the hen to the edge of the  crop field where she stood for about 5 minutes.

Firenock arced to hit its mark.
Firenock arced to hit its mark.

As the hen was stood standing only 15 yards from the blind, the Jakes made their way my direction.  The hen started to slowly head back out towards the center of the field and I knew the Jakes weren’t going to come any closer as they strutted around the “live decoy.”   My Leupold RX1000 rangefinder read 38 yards on the closest strutting Jake, but the direction they were located I could only see/film them out of the corner of the front blind window.

Nothing like trying to take Trophy Pics in the rain!
Nothing like trying to take Trophy Pics in the rain!

There was no way for me to get a shot out of the front window, so I slowly dropped one of the back blind windows, dropped to one knee and drew back.

I settled my 40 yard pin a touch low, slowly squeezed the Too Simple release and watched as the red Firenock arced before landing on its mark.  The bird flopped only a few yards before expiring and just like that, my 2013 turkey season had come to an end!


As I sit here writing this today, I can’t help but to reflect back on what a great spring turkey season this has been.  Not only had I killed the “unofficial” North Carolina state record bearded hen, but for the first time in my life I had taken 3 birds in a single season…all with a bow…and all SELFILMED!

Bird Stats:

Bright red Firenock still glowing.
Bright red Firenock still glowing.
  • 18 lbs., 6 ounces
  • 5 1/4″ beard
  • 9/16″ spurs

Brett’s Gear:

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Soggy/wet way to end the 2013 Ohio turkey season.
Soggy and wet way to end the 2013 Ohio turkey season.

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