Cliff Hanger Gobbler

It’s down to the last day of the season for Rio Grande gobblers. I packed a lunch, ate some oatmeal and took a thermos of coffee with me, prepared for an all day hunt.  After daylight I called every 20 minutes. Two and a half hours rolled by without a peep from a wild turkey.

And then … Gobble!

I yelped back right away. He gobbled again.

This gobbler was a long ways away. There is an old broken down fence near me that goes all the way across the property and ends on a ridge above the river. I’ve paced it off years ago and it’s 800 yards. The gobbler sounded like he was over there. I called, and continued to hear gobbles, for half an hour. But he wasn’t getting closer.

The hunting here had been tough. I was not getting any gobbler action.

My take on lots of things in life is that if it’s important, and it’s not working out, change your approach. Right now it was time to do something different, before the gobbler quit talking and went away.

I folded up the Double Bull and got my decoy and bow and started walking adjacent to the fence.  In 100 yards I called again. He answered. I continued walking and calling as I went along. Three quarters of the way down the fence he answered … CLOSER.

I hurried through the trees in his direction and stopped at an area where it was more open and I had better visibility. In less than a minute I had the blind up and my decoy stuck in the ground 8 yards away.

I cut, but this time not as loud as before. He boomed an answer, he was about 100 yards from me. I yelped and cut for a few seconds and then shut up. He shut up too.

Time slipped away. Did he go away or was he still coming.

A thundering gobble sounded off. He was here, right behind the blind, real close.

My slits were open to the front but the back was closed up. I made a very narrow opening in one of the back windows He was about 10 yards away and judging from where he was standing I didn’t think he could see my decoy.

He was blown up full bore and dragging his wing tips on the ground. The back windows on this Dark Horse blind are vertical and open from the top. I had to get the window open … without spooking him. Now, this isn’t my first rodeo with this situation and from trial and error I learned that moving the window down slowly did not work, and unhooking the window at the top and letting it fall almost never buggared them. Almost … but not always.

My Alpine was already in hand. I reached out and unhooked the window and let it fall.

I didn’t even check to see if  he had run off or not, I pulled my FireBall into the stops and found him, 6 yards away. As soon as my top pin was on the vitals I took my shot.


The Victory V-Force hit home and the gobbler flopped in place for several seconds … and suddenly jumped high into the air … completely clearing my blind.

Ka-Thump! He landed between me and the decoy and thrashed his way a couple yards closer. And stopped.

Done for.

One of his wings waved back and forth in the breeze.

I nocked a second arrow just in case, and waited a few minutes. Then I got out of the blind. I took the Rio gobblers picture and held him up. And said aloud to myself, “Congratulations on your 2011 Grand Slam.”

Then I set him up on a dead log near the fence and took our picture with the time delay.


Before I talk about the bow and other stuff I want to say a word about ThermaCELL on the Texas turkey hunts. Every day got a little  hotter than the one before. And the misquotes got worse and worse. But using this effective product backed them away and kept them off us. Thumbs up for ThermaCELL.

Alpine Archery F1 Fireball – The F1 Fireball was quieter shooting than any bow I’ve ever owned. Quiet is important when bowhunting gobblers. A smooth draw is important too and this bow draws extremely smooth and comfortable. The bow’s rosewood grip is a perfect fit. Speed is a good thing too and the Fireball is rated at 337 FPS. My turkey setup this year is only 58 pounds but the Fireball still has plenty of speed — arrows rocket out of this bow.

The bow drove the arrow through the Rio gobbler, cutting a massive hole in the vitals. This bow has lots of power, even at 58 pounds.

Grim Reaper Broadheads – When hunting gobblers I think the wider your cut is, and the  tougher your broadhead is, the better your chances are to drop your gobbler right away. When you make your shot nothing beats watching ’em drop. And, quite spectacularly,  that definitely happened today. This 100 grain Whitetail Special from Grim Reaper broadhead is a real winner.

Victory Arrows – I’m shooting Victory V Force carbon shafts. These carbon arrows group tight and fly fast. They are very tough too, I’ve shot wild hogs, deer and an alligator with them and have never had one break. Victory makes strong, accurate shooting arrows.

I fletched my own arrows with the Arizona EZ Mini Fletch. It does 3 feathers at a time and is easy and fast to use. The vanes were white Bohning Blazers and I use the super fast drying Goat Tuff glue.

On The Bow – My friend Gene Curry installed a string loop and a Whisper-Peep on my bowstring. My bow quiver is the Alpine Soft Loc 5 arrow model. It is quiet and can easily be removed from the bow (for hunters who want to do that). The arrow rest is the Alpine Whisperflite fall away rest. This rest is built for speed bows, meaning it gets out of the way faster than many of the other drop aways. I’ve used this rest for 4 years and it is excellent. The bow sight is the Cobra Archery BoomSlang. I got the one with the largest pins available, those tiny pins are difficult for me to see inside a dark ground blind but Cobra pins are large and easy to see. I also had Nikon Binoculars and Rangefinder.

2011 Grand Slam Hunt is Sponsored By:

BostixGrim Reaper BroadheadsGoat TuffArizona EZ Fletch