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North Carolina Turkey Season for the Ages

Two weeks prior to the opening weekend of the North Carolina spring wild turkey season, I was running four trail cams on three different farms and getting up early most mornings before going to work to locate birds. The past couple season I had not done my homework, and ended up having to work my tail off to just get close to tagging a bird. This year was going to be different!

As my alarm sounded off on the morning of opening day, I headed off to the farm to meet up with my brother for what would soon become the best Spring turkey season I could have imagined. There would be no standing around till daylight, or easing into a position to blow an owl call to locate the birds on the roost. I had made the decision the day before with 100% confidence that we would be in the best area to tag a bird shortly after daylight. We loaded up with a blind, bow, cameras, and an entire flock of DSD decoys before hiking 500 yards to a knoll in the corner of the pasture and 30 year old pine forest.  This was the location where I had been seeing the most activity on trail cam as well as morning sightings. I looked at my watch, 8:30am. We had only heard a faint gobble in the distance shortly after daybreak and my heart began to sink. Our first morning was a bust and had me questioning my abilities. It seemed that no matter how much preseason scouting, preparation, and footage I had of birds on the farm, I was going to have a hard month of hunting ahead of me.

Let’s fast forward to noon on the first day of season. I had seen 3 Toms hit the ground (brother/dad/mine), and called  a total of 6 toms all within 10 yards. Even though all of these birds were killed with shotguns, and not on film, it was by far our best opening day ever.

With my first tag punched and my best farm un-hunted, my confidence was back to tag out on the second day of season with my bow. I made it to the farm well before daybreak, loaded down with all my SELFILMED gear, and made trek into a bottleneck end road bed between two patches of big hardwoods. The spot was flanked by a two acre cornfield to the NW and a 30 acre cornfield to the SE. This was a turkey killing spot. After getting all my decoys, blind, and gear setup I had about 15 minutes to spare before first light. I leaned back in my Huntmore 360 and rested my eyes as I prayed for a beautiful hunt.

Right after first light, three birds sounded off just to the west edge of the small field a mere 80 yards from my spread. Still running on the adrenalin of the hunts the day before, I was excited to hear these birds so close. Shortly after fly down and a few clucks on my slate, three jakes and four hens (one bearded) were in the decoys and bullying my DSD Jake (Frazier).  It was easy to lay off the three jakes and not get trigger happy as they put on a great show at five yards. The bearded hen, however, had me torn. I had set the blind up right next to my trail cam that had been getting multiple pictures every morning and afternoon of Toms. More or less that trail cam saved the bearded lady.

The time was now 12:00pm and the birds were still within 80 yards of me.  With every call the jakes would gobble.

They had not left my sight all day, but I had also not seen a single Tom. So I cleared out a spot in the blind to stretch out for a bit. At 1:25pm I awoke from a quick power nap and eased up to the window to peak out….50 yards out in the corn stubble…same three jakes. What had already been a long day, seemed to be getting longer. I made my way back into my chair and decided to make a few yelps on my slate. I hit the slate; yelp…yelp…yelp,yelp,yelp. The

three jakes sounded off right on cue. Then a lone bird to the NW of my setup sounded off at around 150 yards. I throw my gloves and mask on and hit the call one more time; yelp….yelp…yelp, this time the only gobble was the lone bird to the NW who had already covered a lot of ground and was directly behind the blind at 50 yards.

As I start to ready my camera and grab my bow, the jakes take off by the blind in the direction of the lone bird. I can hear them fight in the woods behind me. Shortly after, I hear foot steps running thru the leaves behind me headed right toward the

blind. I ready my bow and out pops a nice mature bird at 4 yards. The jakes then tear back thru the woods my direction.   The Tom pops up and spurs my jake decoy as the other jakes come in and start fighting the Tom. The Tom is not leaving the decoy spread. After a few gobbles from the jakes, and the Tom working on Frazier, I see my shot opportunity. I get my Elite Energy 35 to full draw and pin buried, I begin to squeeze off my Carter Fits Me release and…thwack!

The Tom turns quartering towards me, and stands there for a split second stunned with the arrow and Grim Reaper Whitetail Special sticking halfway out of his chest.  He has no clue to what has happened, and soon takes off toward the blind.

He cross right in front of the blind at 3 feet and drops at 6 yards. By 1:45pm on the second day of season, I was tagged out with two birds coming in with a total of 21″ of beards and 4 5/8″ of spurs.

The 2015 North Carolina spring turkey season was one for the ages! It ended with me tagging out in the first two days, getting my brother on his second bird a week before the season was closed, and going with a few friends and giving them good opportunities to connect on birds. With the numbers of birds I have seen this year, it seems the flock is healthy and looking good for the coming years!

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